The Chiefs and Hurricanes played to a 23-23 draw in a tense battle at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
This was a typical New Zealand derby, physical and uncompromising, with neither side giving an inch.
There is no doubt that the Chiefs will be the far happier side after this result, though, with the draw at least ending a four-match losing streak, but there is sure to also be some disappointment that they let a seven-point half-time lead slip.
Noticeably, the Chiefs made a massive improvement on defence and enjoyed some key ascendancy at scrum time, which played a considerable part in preventing the Canes from getting their attacking game going. Ultimately, a share of the spoils was probably a fair reflection of the clash.
Before kick off, there was also a poignant moment, with the players from both the Chiefs and Hurricanes standing arm-in-arm as they held a minute’s silence for the victims of a tragic mass shooting in Christchurch that took place hours earlier.
— Stuff (@NZStuff) March 15, 2019
Considering that the Chiefs came into this clash on the back of four successive defeats, they made the ideal start to proceedings when Anton Lienert-Brown charged down a kick, collected the ball and darted away to score within the opening couple of minutes.
Although the Hurricanes did hit back when centre Matt Proctor dotted down soon after, the Chiefs found a response of their own as Damian McKenzie finished off an opportunistic try on the quarter-hour mark. It was another indicator that the Canes were in for a real scrap.
Before the break, McKenzie slotted over a couple of penalties as the Chiefs continued to build in confidence and belief, while establishing a handy 20-13 half-time lead.
#SuperRugby – HALFTIME:
Chiefs 20-13 Hurricanes
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) March 15, 2019
The Canes would have known that they needed to improve their ball retention and execution in order to get back into the match, something that was duly achieved when some lovely interplay saw Wes Goosen set away for a try on the 50-minute mark.
That score sent the visitors into a three-point lead, but this was cancelled out when McKenzie slotted a superb long-distance penalty to tie things up at 23-23 after a compelling first hour of action.
With neither side really taking control of proceedings, McKenzie did miss a penalty that could have given his side the lead in the latter stages, although the Canes also botched a prime attacking opportunity as the encounter ended in a stalemate.
Chiefs – Tries: Anton Lienert-Brown, Damian McKenzie. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (2). Penalties: McKenzie (3).
Hurricanes – Tries: Matt Proctor, Wes Goosen. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalties: Barrett (2), Jordie Barrett.
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Ataata Moeakiola, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick (c), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Subs: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ryan Coxon, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Etene Nanai-Seturo.
Hurricanes – 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Toby Smith
Subs: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Photo: Michael Bradley/Getty Images
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