The Chiefs ground out a fifth consecutive Super Rugby victory when they beat the Western Force 12-20 in Perth on Friday taking them to the top of the New Zealand conference.
The Chiefs outscored the Force by two tries to none and led the Force 6-7 at half time.
Sonny Bill Williams combined with his cousin Tim Nanai-Williams to score the match clinching try.
With the Chiefs building phases inside the Force's half, a series of quick passes gave Williams the ball about five meters out from the Force tryline in the 47th minute.
When three Force defenders pounced on Williams, the All Blacks center flung a pass across to Nanai-Williams, who crossed the line untouched.
The win moved Chiefs provisionally into first place in the New Zealand conference and on top of the Super Rugby standings with 26 points.
The Chiefs were level on 22 points with the Highlanders before the match and if the Highlanders and Stormers draw on Saturday the Chiefs could stay on top.
Fullback David Harvey accounted for all the Force points with four penalties.
Trailing 3-0, former All Black Lelia Masaga put the Chiefs ahead with a try in the 15th minute, breaking through the Force defense before Aaron Cruden hit the conversion to give the visitors a 7-3 lead.
Harvey's second penalty of the half, a 45-meter effort, pulled the Force back to within a point six minutes later, a score that held through the first 40 minutes.
"It was tough to get points," Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said.
"But we did manage to get some better possession and territory and we grinded it out."
Force captain David Pocock said he felt his side played well but the Chiefs were one step ahead all night.
"It was a tough one," Pocock said. "They took their opportunities whenever they had the ball in front of them."
"The defended very well and we probably coughed up too much ball."
The loss left the Force in last place in the Australian conference with just two wins in seven matches.
Final Score Force 12 (6) Chiefs 20 (7)
Pen - D. Harvey 4
Tries - L. Masaga, T. Nanai-Williams
Pen - A. Cruden 2
Con - A. Cruden 2
Referee: Jonathon White
Assistant Ref 1: Ian Smith
Assistant Ref 2: Julian Pritchard
TMO: George Ayoub
1. Pek Cowan, 2. Nathan Charles, 3. Salesi Ma'afu, 4. Toby Lynn, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 6. Richard Brown, 7. David Pocock (Captain), 8. Matt Hodgson, 9. Brett Sheehan, 10. Ben Seymour, 11. Alfie Mafi, 12. Winston Stanley, 13. Nick Cummins, 14. Samu Wara, 15. David Harvey.
Reserves: 16. Elvis Taione, 17. Kieran Longbottom, 18. Phoenix Battye, 19. Ben McCalman, 20. Josh Homes, 21. Rory Sidey, 22. Patrick Dellit.
1. Arizona Taumalolo, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Craig Clarke (c), 5. Brodie Retallick, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Kane Thompson, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10. Aaron Cruden, 11. Tim Nanai-Williams, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Richard Kahui, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15. Robbie Robinson.
Replacements: 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Jackson Willison