Hello and welcome to today’s first Live Super Rugby Blog and it is a New Zealand derby between two of the tournament’s contenders.
It is raining cats and dogs in Waikato
The Chiefs and current Super Rugby champions, the Hurricanes, start the weekend action in Hamilton. Both teams have played two matches this season and neither team has lost yet.
The Chiefs are aiming to start their season with three consecutive victories for the third time in the last four years, a feat they had managed just once previously in 2010.
There is a decent crowd inside FMG Stadium despite the monsoon weather.
The Canes will be aiming to win consecutive matches away to the Chiefs for the first time since winning their first three trips there in 1996, 1998 and 2000; the Hurricanes’ five victories away to the Chiefs have all come by eight points or fewer.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
BEEP! And we’re off.
1.00: The Chiefs kick-off and the visitors take the ball through multiple phases in the opening drive, showing good handling skills, considering the wet conditions.
3.00: Chiefs turn it over after withstanding the Hurricanes’ pressure and now, they take it deep into Canes territory.
5.00: Stephen Donald is on for Tim Nanai-Williams, who looks to have injured his shoulder.
6.00: The Chiefs lose the ball forward at the 10 of the Canes. Scrum
8.00: BIG SCRUM from ‘Canes.
10.00: The Hurricanes are going through another multi-phase play, but in the end, kick the ball away.
12.00: Chiefs on the counter after regaining possession. Weather is atrocious but the quality of these two teams’ skills, is outstanding.
14.00: PENALTY! Beauden Barrett steps up and it’s good.
16.00: Chiefs on the attack inside the Hurricanes’ 22 but kick the ball away. However, they win the penalty, thanks to advantage and kick for the corner.
17.00: Chiefs set up a 10-man driving maul with Toni Pulu and Anton Lienert-Brown joining in. It is brought down and we do it over again.
19.00: Hurricanes stop the maul but Ardie Savea is sin-binned for multiple infringements. Chiefs opt for a scrum, five out.
20.oo: Referee Brendon Pickerill explains to the sides that he understands their predicament concerning the underground footing. Scrum is reset for the third time.
22.00: TRY CHIEFS! Hurricanes get the shove but Michael Leitch picks up from the base of the scrum, is tackled short. Brodie Retallick picks it up and shoves himself over.
23.00: Damian McKenzie from a difficult angle slots the ball through the uprights; Chiefs lead by 4.
25.00: PENALTY HURRICANES! Barrett, from distance, is good.
27.00: YELLOW! That’s two now. Hurricanes down to 13 men as Michael Fatialofa is carded.
30.00: Ill-discipline becoming a big issue for the Hurricanes, who might have had another in the bin for a high tackle. One feels Brendon Pickerill would’ve reached for the pocket if there wasn’t already two players in the bin.
31.00: McKenzie from close range makes no mistake.
32.00: The Chiefs attack with a kick and win another penalty. It’s 3-6 in the penalty count. Scrum Chiefs from five metres out.
35.00: PENALTY! A big scrum defensive from the Hurricanes releases the pressure.
36.00: Barrett kicks into touch and the Canes have a line-out outside their 22.
37.00: A bit of to-and-fro in the kicking department. The ref calls captains together to talk about another late hit. No card but he reiterates his annoyance at the ill-discipline that is creeping into the game.
38.00: Scrum to the Hurricanes inside their half.
39.00: Chiefs have a line-out after a mark is called and a poor kick is out short.
40.00: TRY CHIEFS! Toni Pulu collects Tawera Kerr-Barlow’s kick after a blindside break from the maul. TMO referral shows Pulu grounds the ball.
41.00: McKenzie from the corner and again, it’s good. The fullback packed his boots today.
The halftime score is Chiefs 17 Hurricanes 6
The two sin-binnings have, ultimately, proved costly to the Hurricanes. Yellow card, try. Yellow card, try.
An interesting statistic shows the Hurricanes have spent only 13 seconds inside the Chiefs’ 22; the home team, over two minutes. The chiefs have made the territory count with two tries in a stop-start first half in Waikato.
The players are back out on the field. The rain continues to pelt down.
BEEP! Barrett gets us back underway with a low driven kick into the Chiefs’ 22.
41.00: Chiefs have a scrum after a tackle in midfield.
43.00: A knock on from the Hurricanes gifts the hosts possession and they take the ball, slowly, downfield. Anton Lienert-Brown makes a mini-break but his offload is fumbled by James Lowe. Scrum Canes.
45.00: The Chiefs take it up and Barrett clears to touch. The line-out is knocked forward by the Chiefs.
46.00: Every scrum has to be reset. Referee getting frustrated.
47.00: Kerr-Barlow puts in a stab kick and Nehe Milner-Skudder fumbles on the pick-up, Chiefs gather but can’t make anything of the turnover as they lose the ball with a handling error of their own.
49.00: Hurricanes clear for a Chiefs line-out. The Chiefs kick deep and win a loose ball inside the opposition’s 22 and win a penalty in the process.
50.00: McKenzie points to the posts.
51.00: The fullback kicks his second penalty, is 4/4, and the home team lead by two goals.
54.00: Both teams attack when in possession but nothing comes of it. Penalty to the Canes and Barrett kicks deep. The benches are starting to be emptied.
56.00: The Hurricanes set-up a maul, move the ball left but it is knocked forward after some pressure defence by the hosts. You have to make these opportunities count.
59.00: The ball is out for a Hurricanes line-out inside the Chiefs’ 10. The visitors have not threatened their hosts’ try-line at all in this second half.
60.00: STATISTIC ALERT! The Chiefs have now gone three games this season, without conceding a try inside the game’s opening hour. That’s pretty darn fantastic, especially, because they’ve only played derby matches.
63.00: Barrett with a little grubber into the Chiefs’ 22, is collected by Julian Savea – yes, he is on the field – and they win a PENALTY for offside.
64.00: The Hurricanes set up a maul from the resulting line-out.
65.00: TRY HURRICANES! They drive the maul onto the white-wash, where TJ Perenara, dives for the line and scores.
66.00: Barrett can’t add the conversion from near the right-hand touchline. The deficit is nine.
68.00: The Chiefs, inside their 22, clear. The Hurricanes come again. The momentum seems to be shifting.
70.00: The Chiefs win a turnover and attack. Jordie Barrett is on the pitch with his brother and both having an impact here. The rain is starting to get heavier but the skill on display is excellent.
71.00: Canes in good attacking position but lose the ball in contact.
74.00: PENALTY CHIEFS! McKenzie will have a shot at goal.
75.00: It’s good and the lead is extended to 12 points with five to play.
77.00: Referee is consulting TMO for possible foul play.
78.00: YELLOW CARD! Leitch is sent to the bin.
79.00: TRY HURRICANES! The bus, Julian Savea goes over for the score. This game is not over. Barrett makes the conversion.
80.00: PENALTY! Mckenzie’s kick is good.
80.00: GAME OVER! The Chiefs are three from three and have taken the defending champions’ scalp.
Thank you for joining us. We will be back for today’s second game between the Brumbies and the Western Force.
The final score is Chiefs 26 (17) Hurricanes 18 (6)
Tries – Retallick, Pulu
Pen – McKenzie (4)
Con – McKenzie (2)
Cards – Leitch (Yellow, 79th minute)
Tries – Perenara
Pen – Barrett (2)
Con – Barrett
Cards – Savea (Yellow, 19th minute), Fatialofa(Yellow, 27th minute)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Glenn Newman
1. Kane Hames (11), 2. Hika Elliot (106), 3. Nepo Laulala (2), 4. Dominic Bird (13), 5. Brodie Retallick (73), 6. Mitchell Brown (4), 7. Sam Cane (co-captain) (82), 8. Michael Leitch (24), 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (69), 10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain) (75), 11. James Lowe (39), 12. Anton Lienert-Brown (26), 13. Tim Nanai-Williams (79), 14. Toni Pulu (15), 15. Damian McKenzie (35)
Replacements:16. Sebastian Siataga**, 17. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (13), 18. Atu Moli (13), 19. Taleni Seu (20), 20. Lachlan Boshier (10), 21. Jonathan Taumateine (2), 22. Stephen Donald (91), 23. Shaun Stevenson (9)
() = Chiefs caps in brackets
**denotes Super Rugby debut
15. Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14. Vince Aso, 13. Matt Proctor, 12. Ngani Laumape, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Reed Prinsep, 7. Ardie Savea, 6. Brad Shields, 5. Michael Fatialofa, 4. Mark Abbott, 3. Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles (captain), 1. Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16. Ricky Riccitelli, 17. Chris Eves, 18. Ben May, 19. James Blackwell, 20. Callum Gibbins, 21. Chris Smylie, 22. Otere Black, 23. Jordie Barrett.