The Chiefs have played the Highlanders 33 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Chiefs have won 18 matches, lost 14 times, and drawn once.
The Chiefs’ 18 wins give them a record of winning 55% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of venue.
- The Highlanders have won eight of their last 12 Super Rugby games against the Chiefs (D1, L3) and are undefeated in their previous three clashes against them (W2, D1).
- Four of the Chiefs’ previous five home games against the Highlanders in Super Rugby have been decided by a margin of five points or fewer, with the Chiefs picking up just two wins in that span (L3).
- Warren Gatland’s men have lost their last five Super Rugby games on the bounce and will be looking to avoid a club-record equaling sixth straight defeat for the first time since the 2008 and 2009 campaigns.
- The Chiefs have had an average of 18 minutes and 15 seconds in possession per game during Super Rugby Aotearoa – the most of any team; as a result, they’ve also made more carries per game (136) than any other club.
- Highlanders duo Aaron Smith and Dillon Hunt have each won five turnovers in Super Rugby Aotearoa – the joint-most of any player in the competition; the only other player to have reached this mark is the Chiefs’ Lachlan Boshier.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.
1.00: PEEEEP! After some minor communication issues, referee Mike Fraser gets us underway in Hamilton. The conditions are perfect for running rugby, there’s no rain, the field is dry and there is a slight breeze, but nothing to bother the players.
1.00: Mitch Hunt’s kick-off does not go 10 metres – scrum on the halfway to the Chiefs.
2.00: Aiden Ross leaves the field with what looks like an ankle injury. Reuben O’Neill comes on at hooker for the hosts.
5.00: TRY! Damian McKenzie claims a high ball and sets up a Chiefs attack near the Landers’ 22. The ball is recycled and sent to midfield where Lachlan Boshier ghosts through a big gap to score under the posts. Good start for the hosts. 5-0
6.00: CONVERSION! McKenzie converts from in front. 7-0
8.00: Sam Cane gets pinged at the ruck for not rolling away. Ash Dixon points to the poles.
9.00: MISS! Hunt’s radar is off, that’s his second mistake with the boot as he misses from in front. 7-0
11.00: TRY! The Chiefs have another try. McKenzie, taking the ball at first receiver, stepped inside and put Anton Lienert-Brown away, with a deft pass, to dot down next to the posts. 12-0
12.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 14-0
14.00: The TMO is checking for a high shot by Rob Thompson.
14.00: YELLOW CARD! Thompson is sent to the bin for 10 minutes. McKenzie calls for the tee. 14-0
15.00: PENALTY! McKenzie extends the lead. 17-0
18.00: It’s all chiefs at the minute; the visitors cannot get any possession and are conceding loads of penalties.
21.00: TRY! A powerful driving maul – following another penalty – sees Bradley Slater flop over the whitewash. 22-0
22.00: CONVERSION! McKenzie adds another two. 24-0
25.00: The Highlanders have managed to get some good field position and look dangerous once they string a few passes together.
27.00: Two good opportunities go begging because of poor handling, but the visitors have a penalty for side entry at the ruck.
28.00: A scuffle breaks out between the two halfbacks, but it’s handbags. Landers will have to go to the corner.
29.00: Sam Cane gets a warning for three cynical infringements in the red zone. Hunt goes to the corner again.
30.00: TRY and YELLOW CARD! Another good driving maul by the Highlanders is broken up illegally. Dixon went close but is short, so the recycled ball went wide to Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, who crashed over. Cane is also shown a card for a deliberate knockdown. 24-5
31.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 24-7
34.00: Gatland’s men to make sure they don’t give up many points while down a man, or they will let the Highlanders back in the game.
35.00: Mauger’s men look decent now, but they lose possession with another needless ruck-penalty. Chiefs clear their lines.
37.00: A lot of niggle in this game; both captains have been told to keep their cool and talk to their teams.
40.00: Trask kicks a penalty near the opposition’s 22 for one final attack.
The halftime score was Chiefs 24 Highlanders 7
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Hamilton.
43.00: TRY! The Chiefs start the second half as they did the first, with Slater scoring after another powerful driving maul. 29-7
44.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 31-7
46.00: The Highlanders are moving into good field position as they slow play down.
47.00: TRY! Mitch Hunt’s linebreak sees the flyhalf race away down the touchline to score a sensational try. 31-12
49.00: MISS! Hunt cannot convert. 31-12
52.00: Hunt kicks his team into the opposition’s 22 after another infringement by Cane.
54.00: The Highlanders have a couple of attacking opportunities, but they cannot find a way over the try-line. both teams begin to empty their benches.
56.00: TRY! Aaron Smith collects Josh McKay’s pop-pass from a mini line-break and races to the try line. Smith is almost caught but plays a wonderful one-two before he is tackled, and then burrows over for the try. 31-17
57.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 31-19
60.00: The Chiefs are on the attack, but lose the ball.
62.00: A Highlanders’ scrum on their line ends with a penalty after a big scrum. Maybe, just maybe, Mauger’s men have a Houdini act in the bag.
65.00: NO TRY! McKenzie drops a pass backwards, collects the ball, slips a tackle before racing through a gap to score under the posts. However, the officials go back to the previous lineout and find an accidental offside involving Cane and Trask. 31-19
68.00: It’s all Highlanders as they patiently work their way into the Chiefs’ half. They are going through the phases in search of that fourth score.
69.00: Some resilient defending by the Chiefs keeps the Landers out; however, they concede a penalty which allows Hunt to kick to the corner.
71.00: The Chiefs stop the driving maul, but concede another penalty on their line. Hunt goes to the corner.
72.00: Boshier saves the day, getting his hands on the ball and winning a relieving penalty.
75.00: The Chiefs give away the ball and the Highlanders shift the ball to the overlap and McKay sends Jona Nareki away to score. Game On! 31-24
76.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 31-26
79.00: The Highlanders come again, but are kept out. Boshier wins a penalty, though, and the next lineout, but the Chiefs give away a penalty before the hooter sounds. Here we go!
82.00: TRY! Aaron Smith sends Sio Tompkinson away for the game-winning try! What a turnaround! 31-31
83.00: CONVERSION! Hunt wins the game at the death. 31-33
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The final score is Chiefs 31 (24) Highlanders 33 (7)
Tries – Boshier, Lienert-Brown, Slater (2)
Pen – McKenzie
Con – McKenzie (4)
Cards – Cane (Yellow, 30′)
Tries – Mikaele-Tu’u, Hunt, A. Smith, Nareki, Tompkinson
Con – Hunt (4)
Cards – Thompson (Yellow, 14′)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Brendon Pickerill
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Reuben O’Neill, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Quinn Tupaea
15 Michael Collins, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Scott Gregory, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Pari-Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ethan De Groot, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Jesse Parete, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Jona Nareki