Chiefs too good for desperate Hurricanes
July 4, 2014
Hadleigh Parkes crashed over to revive the Hurricanes hopes, but the Hurricanes were unable to claw back
© Getty Images
The Chiefs snapped a three-match losing streak to keep their Super Rugby hopes alive with a hard-fought 24-16 win over the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Friday. The ninth-placed Chiefs desperately needed a win to have any chance of snaring their third successive title, while the fifth-ranked Hurricanes now look vulnerable as they sit out a final-round bye next week.
History was against the Hurricanes, who haven't won in Hamilton since 2007, and they struggled for timing and cohesion without key players Conrad Smith, Victor Vito and Alapati Leiua.
Early errors peppered play, but although both teams were guilty of poor handling and sloppy kicking, the Chiefs settled quickest and looked more threatening. Their defence was compact and well organised, shutting down the Hurricanes around the edges of the breakdown and not allowing them any space out wide.
The Chiefs' Agustine Pulu is brought down by Reggie Goodes of the Hurricanes © Getty Images
The Chiefs continued to dominate possession and were again rewarded within the Hurricanes half with a penalty, but flagged the easy three points, opting instead to kick for the corner. Unable to drive over from the line-out the Chiefs kept the ball in hand and showed patience as they re-set and prop Jamie Mackintosh punch through from close range to extend the lead.
The Hurricanes responded again with a penalty, but Cruden plotted another two quick penalties to extend the Chiefs' winning margin to 16-6 at half-time, the home team's lead reflecting their domination in possession and territory.
The Hurricanes started the second spell strongly, Barrett nailing his third penalty five minutes after the restart. But Cruden responded with one of his own as the hour-mark approached, then featured with a scything run soon after to set up All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick for the try and a 24-9 lead.
Hurricanes centre Hadleigh Parkes briefly revived Hurricanes hopes with a 65th-minute try, but the Chiefs controlled the closing stages to shut out the win.
Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden told Sky Sports that he was proud of the side's efforts on Friday night after the game.
"Yeah really proud, I think the efforts been there all year, we finally just put it on to the paddock," Cruden said. "We wanted to come here at our last home game at Waikato Stadium this year and put in a performance our fans could be proud of and put a bit of pride back into the jersey."
"Yeah, I'm really proud of the way the squad approached the game, we wanted to be a lot more decisive we wanted to get back to what we do best, which is up the guts and chuck it out wide as I suppose the Honeybadger said. It worked for us tonight. Credit to the Hurricanes, they're a quality side and we knew it was going to be an 80-minute battle and that's exactly what it was."
Hurricanes captain Jeremy Thrush told Sky Sports the side had all the passion but just struggled execute and build phase play.
"Yeah there was enough passion, we just didn't keep our heads and execute our skills very well," Thrush said. "We won our set piece pretty week, we just hold onto it or build phases and put them under pressure. [It was a little bit of disruption from their forward pack] but a lot of it came down to us and our skills and they just showed us that if you don't hold onto the ball and you put teams under pressure you can just build points."
Chiefs 24-16 Hurricanes (video available in Australia only)
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