The Hurricanes beat the Chiefs 31-18 in Round Nine of Super Rugby Aotearoa at Sky Stadium, Wellington.
Man of the Match Peter Umaga-Jensen grabbed a brace as the Hurricanes continued their recent dominance over the Chiefs with a fourth win on the trot.
Sean Wainui pulled a try back despite his team being down a man following Wes Goosen’s yellow card before halftime.
Dane Coles crossed after the restart before Damian McKenzie’s second penalty brought made it 17-13 as the visitors tried to stay within touching distance.
Just before the hour mark Kobus van Wyk waltzed over for the Hurricanes‘ fourth try of the night to make it a two-score game going into the last 20 minutes.
Bradley Slater flopped over the whitewash after a powerful driving maul with 15 minutes to play to keep up his team’s hopes of an unlikely comeback win.
Billy Proctor, however, finished off the game with his team’s fifth try to seal the bonus-point victory.
The Canes increased their undefeated streak to six Super Rugby games against the men from the Waikato.
The Hamilton men end a wretched campaign winless and rooted to the foot of the Super Rugby Aotearoa table after an eighth successive defeat.
Umaga-Jensen scores twice as the Hurricanes dominated the first half, but the hosts could not pull away.
Jason Holland’s side had all the territory (33%) and possession (40%) during the first half as they kept the listless Chiefs on the backfoot.
The hosts, eschewing kicks at goal, looking to score tries instead.
Barrett kicked multiple penalties to the left-hand corner as the hosts looked to blow the opposition away early.
McKenzie’s early penalty attempt rebounded off the crossbar and the home team struck soon afterwards.
Umaga-Jensen opened the scoring when he barged through two tackles to score under the posts, in the seventh minute, after the Hurricanes battered the Chiefs’ try-line.
Barrett added the extras.
It took 25 minutes before the Warren Gatland’s charges got on the board. Tyrel Lomax and Dane Coles were both caught offsides.
Instead of going for a lineout drive, Sam Cane, instrumental in the build-up to the penalty, opted for another shot at goal.
McKenzie made no mistake from in front. Cane left the field after getting his head caught on the hip of Barrett.
Just before the half-hour, Wes Goosen slipped two defenders and stayed infield, despite the best efforts of Shaun Stevenson, and played Umaga-Jensen on his inside for the centre’s second try of the night.
Barrett missed the conversion after attempting a drop-kick after the ball fell off the tee.
The Chiefs’ errors mounted and their scrum started to feel the strain as the hosts turned the screw.
Goosen got sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Brad Weber, two minutes before the interval.
Weber thought he had scored soon afterwards, but his try was chalked off because Samisoni Taukei’aho’s foot was in touch before the hooker got his pass away.
Stevenson and McKenzie botched a certain try before the break, but somehow, the visitors, despite being poor, only trailed by nine at the interval.
Fourteen man Chiefs start the second stanza with a bang as Gatland’s men fight back, but Hurricanes hit back immediately.
The Chiefs got on the board early after the restart.
Goosen’s card did not prove costly, instead, the Chiefs were the team who scored seven points during the 10 minute period.
Barrett upended Wainui, who jumped into the tackle.
Super Rugby Aotearoa Round Nine Video Highlights: Hurricanes versus Chiefs at Sky Stadium, Wellington
To add insult to injury, the ball landed on the winger’s head, too. However, it is a good call by the officials for once.
From the lineout, the visitors spread the ball wide to Wainui via a long cutout pass by Kaleb Trask saw the winger beat the cover defence to score in the corner.
McKenzie slotted the touchline kick to make it a two-point game. The joy was short-lived.
TJ Perena’s broke into the Chiefs’ 22 after the restart, which led to Coles getting his 22nd Super Rugby five-pointer when he dived over near the corner.
Barrett’s conversion rebounded off the post.
McKenzie added his second penalty on 53 minutes as the visitors tried to keep up.
Hurricanes magic sees the home team increased their lead with a fourth try on the hour.
Van Wyk – untouched – dotted down after taking Jackson Garden-Bachop’s pin-point cross-field kick.
It was a sublime move from a lineout. McKenzie, out of position, got caught out by Garden-Bachop’s accurate kick, and the South African winger had a simple walk-over.
Barrett’s conversion split the uprights to increase the advantage to 11 going into the final quarter of the game.
A powerful driving maul saw the Chiefs forwards destroy the opposition’s pack. Slater got up with the ball to make it 24-18.
McKenzie pushed his conversion attempt wide, but the deficit was one score.
Proctor sealed the deal in the 73rd minute when he finished off a sublime attack after Jamie Booth and Barrett’s mini-breaks set-up the score.
Barrett added the extras.
The Hurricanes slowed the game down and ran down the clock in the final minutes to secure their bonus-point that keeps them – mathematically though unrealistically – in contention for the title.
For the Chiefs and Gatland, they will just be happy that they have been put out of their misery.
Final Score: Hurricanes 31 (12) Chiefs 18 (3)
Tries – Umaga-Jensen (2), Coles, Van Wyk, Proctor
Con – J. Barrett (3)
Cards – Goosen (Yellow, 38′)
Tries – Wainui, Slater
Pen – McKenzie (2)
Con – McKenzie
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Mike Fraser
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Thomas Perenara (co-captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Ben May
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Jonah Lowe
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ollie Norris
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Rob Cobb, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Quinn Tupaea, 23 Kini Naholo