The Chiefs completed their regular season’s fixtures with an impressive 28-10 victory over the Brumbies in Hamilton on Saturday.
The home side dominated for large periods and eventually outscored the Brumbies three tries to one with Damian McKenzie leading the way with an 18-point haul courtesy of a try, three penalties and two conversions.
The Chiefs held a slender 13-10 lead at half-time after McKenzie and Nigel Ah Wong scored tries for their respective sides.
The result means the Chiefs provisionally move into second place on the New Zealand Conference table although that situation could change if the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders later on Saturday.
McKenzie gave the hosts the lead when he added a penalty in the 17th minute and three minutes later, he crossed the whitewash after trading passes with Solomon Alaimalo.
The Brumbies did not take long to respond and three minutes later, Ah Wong ran a superb angle which tore the home side’s defence to shreds before crossing for a deserved try.
Wharenui Hawera added the extras before McKenzie slotted another penalty which meant the Chiefs led 13-7 by the 36th minute. James Lowe crossed the whitewash shorlty afterwards after combining brilliantly with McKenzie and Alex Nankivell but the try was disallowed after television replays showed that a pass from Lowe to McKenzie, in the build-up, was forward.
Hawera slotted a penalty which meant the visitors were still in this match at the interval, but the Brumbies were dealt a blow just after the restart when Tomas Cubelli received a yellow csrd for cynical play on defence.
The Chiefs made them pay and shortly afterwards Alaimalo crossed the whitewash after the ball went through several pairs of hands in the build-up.
Ten mintes later, McKenzie slotted his third penalty which meant the visitors led 21-10 by the hour-mark.
The rest of the half was a one-sided affair as the Chiefs continued to dominate although they had to wait until the 71st minute for their next points – Michael Leitch dotting down in the left-hand corner after a brilliant break from McKenzie.
The All Black full-back added the conversion from close to the touchline and although the Chiefs finished the match strongly, they could not cross the whitewash again which meant they failed to secure a bonus point try.
Tries: McKenzie, Alaimalo, Leitch
Cons: McKenzie 2
Pens: McKenzie 3
Try: Ah Wong
Yellow Card: Cubelli
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson
Brumbies: 15 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Nigel Ah Wong, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy (c), 5 Blake Enever, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Nic Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Banks
Date: Saturday. July 15
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Referees: Richard Kelly, Cam Stone
TMO: Ben Skeen