Double Super Rugby Champions the Chiefs kept their dream of a third straight Super Rugby title alive for another week when they beat the Hurricanes 24-16 in Hamilton.
The result almost certainly knocks the Hurricanes out of contention for the 2014 Super Rugby title as they have a bye next week and can be expected be overtaken by teams who are playing next week.
The teams met earlier in the season and the Hurricanes won the contest 45-8 in Wellington so the result evens out the wins in 2014 at one each.
The Chiefs victory brings an end to a three match losing streak for the Champions and keeps them in contention for the play offs but they will need to win again next week to get into the play off places as the result moved them up from ninth overall to seventh.
The Chiefs are now on 40 points with a game in hand while the Hurricanes are on 41 points and have played all of their games.
The Chiefs win drops the Blues to the bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference on 36 points but they have two games remaining.
The Crusaders - with two games in hand - lead the NZ Conference on 42 points and are ahead of the Highlanders who also have 42 points and two games in hand on points difference and games won.
Next weekend the Chiefs travel to Auckland to play the Blues who will need to beat the Crusaders this weekend to remain in contention for the play offs.
All Blacks first-five Aaron Cruden won the contest between him and his national rival Beauden Barrett by kicking 14 points for the Chiefs and making several breaks in the match.
Cruden helped to create a second half try for the Chiefs by Brodie Retallick which effectively clinched the match for the current champions.
The match was effectively a knock out match and the Chiefs experience from playing in the last two seasons play offs showed as they increased their intensity in comparison to their recent matches.
It took 20 minutes for the first points to be scored as Cruden landed a penalty after missing his first attempt. The first quarter was a fairly even contest but as the match wore on the Chiefs took control of possession and territory.
Former Highlanders captain and now Chiefs prop Jamie Mackintosh scored the opening try when he was pushed over the line following a line out and maul.
By half time the Chiefs had enjoyed 61 percent of territory and 63 percent of possession and led 16-6.
The Chiefs started the second half with great intent but the Hurricanes were the first to score with a penalty from Beauden Barrett.
The Chiefs almost extended their lead with a break from Tom Marshall but he knocked on as he went over to score.
The champions were then awarded a try when Brodie Retallick went over in the opposite corner although TMO replays suggested that Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara may have taken the ball off him as he scored.
The Hurricanes hit back with a try of their own through Hadleigh Parkes and although the try was immediately awarded again replays showed that he could have lost the ball in the process of scoring.
Barrett kicked the conversion but the Hurricanes were playing catch up rugby and then he missed a late penalty that could have earned a losing bonus point.
"There was enough effort and passion but we just didn't keep our heads and execute our skills very well," said Hurricanes captain Jeremy Thrush.
"We won our set-piece pretty well but we just didn't hold onto the ball through phases and put them under pressure." he added.
The Hurricanes now face a nervous wait as they watch the rest of the teams battle it out for the play off places with the hope that they will knock each other out and the Canes sneak in.
If the Hurricanes fail to qualify it will be the fourth time under coach Mark Hammett that they have missed the play offs. Hammett has already been announced as the new Cardiff Blues coach.
Final Score Chiefs 24 (16) Hurricanes 16 (6)
Tries - J. Mackintosh, B.Retallick
Pen - A.Cruden 4
Con - A.Cruden
Tries - H.Parkes
Pen - B.Barrett 3
Con - B.Barrett
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Brendan Pickerill
1. Jamie Mackintosh,2. Mahonri Schwalger,3. Ben Tameifuna,4. Mike Fitzgerald,5. Brodie Retallick ,6. Liam Messam ,7. Tanerau Latimer,8. Liam Squire ,9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow ,10. Aaron Cruden (c),11. James Lowe ,12. Charlie Ngatai,13. Tim Nanai-Williams ,14. Asaeli Tikoirotuma,15. Tom Marshall
Replacements : 16. Rhys Marshall,17. Pauliasi Manu ,18. Nick Barrett ,19. Matt Symons ,20. Tevita Koloamatangi ,21. Agustine Pulu ,22. Gareth Anscombe,23. Bundee Aki
1. Ben Franks,2. Dane Coles,3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,4. Jeremy Thrush (c),5. Blade Thomson,6. Jack Lam,7. Ardie Savea,8. Brad Shields,9. TJ Perenara,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Hadleigh Parkes,13. Tim Bateman,14. Cory Jane,15. Matt Proctor
Replacements : 16. TBC,17. Chris Eves,18. Reggie Goodes,19. James Broadhurst,20. Adam Hill,21. Chris Smylie,22. Cardiff Vaega,23. James Marshall