Chiefs beat Hurricanes to maintain perfect start to Super Rugby

rugby15 April 2023 06:09| © Reuters
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Brad Weber © Getty Images

The unbeaten Chiefs overcame a nine-point deficit at halftime to beat the Hurricanes 33-17 on Saturday and reclaim top spot in Super Rugby Pacific.

A Hurricanes side who have been the best-attacking outfit in the competition were kept scoreless for the last 50 minutes as the Chiefs extended their start to seven wins from seven.

The teams were level at the top of the standings after the Chiefs sat out a bye last week, and their perfect record looked set to be tested when scrum-half Cameron Roigard crossed to put the Hurricanes 17-8 clear after half an hour.

That remained the score at the interval before momentum swung in favour of the visitors, who played with more control and scored three unanswered tries.

Chiefs co-captain Brad Weber said his team took time to rediscover the form that has carried them to a best-ever start to a season.

"Coming off the bye, we were a little bit slow out of the blocks, but we just stuck to what's worked all season," Weber said.

"We told the boys to trust it and it'd start coming and sure enough it did.

"The Hurricanes in that first half, their attacking prowess was bloody tough to stop, so we're pretty happy with that second 40 minutes."

The Chiefs' slow start included conceding the game's first five penalties, although they did cross first through outside centre Daniel Rona before the Hurricanes responded through tries to flanker Devon Sanders and Roigard.

Pita Gus Sowakula and Cortez Ratima gave the Chiefs the advantage entering the final quarter and fly-half Damian McKenzie grabbed the final try to complete an 18-point haul.

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea admitted his team opened the door to the visitors in the second spell.

"The first half was really good, we did the simple things well," All Blacks No 8 Savea said.

"The second half let us down. There were back-to-back mistakes and you can't do that to a team like the Chiefs and they punished us.

"Obviously, we've got the bye week next week, so that'll be a good time to reflect, reset and come back."

The Chiefs top the standings on points differential from the Brumbies, who have played an extra game.

The Hurricanes are guaranteed to be third at the end of round eight, four points off the pace.