The Chiefs beat the Brumbies 28-10 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton but they could not get the important bonus-point win, outscoring the visitors by three tries to one.
Damian McKenzie, who again, was sensational, scored a try and kicked three penalties and two conversions for a match haul of 18 points.
The Brumbies’ loss is the 25th of the season for Australian teams against New Zealand opposition in this year’s Super Rugby campaign.
The game was close at the break, with the Aussies trailing by three, after Nigel Ah Wong’s second try in only his second start and five points from the boot of Wharenui Hawera that kept the Brumbies within range.
However, two second-half tries by Solomon Alaimalo and Michael Leitch, combined with the Chiefs keeping their opponents scoreless in the second-half, saw the Canberra side surrender meekly.
How McKenzie is not in the All Black team is a travesty, however, like many before him, he has to contend with a superior player in Jordie Barrett for the 15 jersey.
This was another master class performance by the diminutive fullback. He ran the show for his side and all good things came through his vision.
within 21 minutes, McKenzie had all 10 of the Chiefs’ points, scoring a try, converting it and kicking an early penalty.
The Brumbies had rested eight starters for this game in preparation for the playoffs, but, they did not play like a team that had been six and eight.
Ah Wong pulled a try back for the Aussies and Hawera converted to make it 10-7. McKenzie and Hawera traded penalties before the break.
After the break, the Chiefs recycled the ball quickly and Alaimalo was over; just like that: 21-10
The Brumbies were never really in the game, despite the closeness of the score and they did not score again.
With time ticking down, Michael Leitch scored, but it was not enough to claim the important bonus-point.
Final Score: Chiefs 28 (13) Brumbies 10 (10)
Tries – McKenzie, Alaimalo, Leitch
Pen – McKenzie (3)
Con – McKenzie (2)
Tries – Ah Wong
Pen – Hawera
Con – Hawera
Cards – Cubelli (Yellow, 41st minute)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Richard Kelly
Assistant Ref 2: Cam Stone
TMO: Ben Skeen
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 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.
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 (captain), 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