The Chiefs were made to work for the victory and had to come from behind as they beat Auckland’s Blues 21-19 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
The Chiefs needed a penalty try in the 73rd minute to edge in front of the Blues who led on the scoreboard for the majority of the contest.
The Chiefs victory is their fourth consecutive victory in 2018 and extends their unbeaten streak against the Blues to 14 matches.
Earlier this season the Chiefs beat the Blues 21-27 in Auckland which meant the Blues went into the match having not beaten a New Zealand team in 13 attempts and the same number of matches without beating the Chiefs. That is now stretched to 14 matches without a win.
The Blues have played six matches and won one in 2018 while the Chiefs have played six and won five.
The victory may have come at a cost though as Damien McKenzie was forced to leave the field in the 31st minute due to injury.
The Blues took an early lead in the match as through two penalty kicks from Stephen Perofeta.
McKenzie put the Chiefs on the scoreboard in the 8th minute. McKenzie’s highlight of the match followed three minutes later when he set up a try for Sean Wanui.
McKenzie missed the conversion but put the Chiefs into the lead in the 20th minute at 11-9 with his second penalty shot but then had to be replaced by his brother Marty just after the half hour mark.
The Blues scored their first try of the match in the 34th minute when James Parsons scored from a line out. The TMO was called upon to review the try and it was awarded.
Perofeta added the conversion and then a penalty kick just before the break which the Blues were leading 14-19 at half time.
The Chiefs almost entirely dominated the second half in the statistics but they only came close to scoring on a couple of occasions.
When it looked like the Chiefs would score after a line out Lachlan Boshier was blown up for obstruction and then a short while later Toni Pulu knocked on with the try line beckoning.
The Chiefs kept the Blues under pressure in their 22 until the Auckland side lost Joshua Goodhue to the sin-bin for cynical defensive foul play inside his 22.
With the Blues reduced to 14 players – one less in the forwards – the Chiefs kept the ball in the forwards and after their scrum powered over the Blues scrum referee Paul Williams awarded a penalty try to the hosts.
The decision to award the penalty try with seven points was a key moment in the match as the Chiefs didn’t need to take the conversion kick so they snuck into the lead.
For the remaining seven minutes of the match the Chiefs held on to the ball and worked it through the phases winding down the clock. As soon as the siren sounded the ball was booted into touch seal the Chiefs fifth straight win.
Next week the Blues travel to Tokyo where they will play the winless Sunwolves while the Chiefs travel to Wellington to play the Hurricanes.
Final Score Chiefs 21 (14) Blues 19 (19)
Tries – S.Wainui, Penalty try
Pen – D.Mckenzie 3
Con – (Penalty try)
Tries – J.Parsons
Pen – S.Perofeta 4
Con – S.Perofeta
Cards – J.Goodhue (69th min yellow)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Glen Jackson
TMO : Aaron Paterson
1. Aidan Ross 2. Nathan Harris 3. Angus Ta’avao 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Tyler Ardron 6. Lachlan Boshier 7. Sam Cane (cc) 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 10. Damian McKenzie ,11. Sean Wainui ,12. Johnny Faauli , 13. Anton Lienert-Brown , 14. Toni Pulu ,15. Solomon Alaimalo,
Replacements : 16. Liam Polwart , 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe , 18. Jeff Thwaites , 19. Luke Jacobson ,20. Liam Messam , 21. Jonathan Taumateine ,22. Alex Nankivell , (cc) 23. Marty McKenzie
1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons (c), 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 11. George Moala, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Matt Duffie, 15. Michael Collins.
Replacements: 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Mike Tamoaieta, 19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20. Jimmy Tupou, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryn Gatland,