Chiefs edge Hurricanes in Super Rugby classic
Seta Tamanivalu scored two first-half tries as Chiefs edged Hurricanes 28-27 in a classic encounter between the two in-form Super Rugby rivals at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Both sides had won five games in a row before locking horns in Wellington and a gripping contest swung one way and then the other before Australasian Group leaders Chiefs hung on in another demonstration of their title credentials.
Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett missed two penalties and as many conversions, but scored a try and set up another in an eye-catching display which ultimately proved to be in vain.
Barrett laid on the opening try just three minutes in, when he was given far too much room and punished Chiefs by bursting through a huge gap before whipping a pass out for Corey Jane to go over in the right corner.
Centre Tamanivalu responded with two tries in the space of 11 minutes, the second of which came at the end of a slick move which started deep in the Chiefs' own half and was of the highest order.
But Dane Coles barged his way over and this time Barrett converted after also slotting over a drop goal to put last year's runners-up 15-14 ahead at half-time.
The impressive Damian McKenzie - who kicked all four conversions - came to the fore after the break as tries from Michael Leitch and Taleni Seu either side of a TJ Perenara score for the hosts put Chiefs 28-20 up 12 minutes into the second half.
Barrett continued to pull the strings and gave Hurricanes hope when he offloaded superbly before taking a return pass from Michael Fatialofa, with Jason Woodward converting to cut the gap to a point with 11 minutes remaining.
Woodward spurned a great chance to win it when he spilled the ball with the try line at his mercy after Barrett had burst through a gap once again and flung a pass out wide as Chiefs held on for yet another win.