The Hurricanes have edged a thrilling 27 – 24 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.
It’s the first time the Wellington-based Super Rugby team has had a win against their Waikato rivals at home since 2007.
A physical game from the outset, the Hurricanes struck early with a try from Ben Lam in the 9th minute of the game.
Set up by a line-break from co-captain, TJ Perenara, the ball then passed through the hands of Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett before Lam put the ball down in the left-hand corner.
The Chiefs didn’t take long to reply, Damian McKenzie slotting a penalty over the posts just five minutes later to take the score to 7 – 3 and then a try from flanker, Lachlan Boshier regained his team the lead.
But, thanks to persistent pressure from the Hurricanes, Fletcher Smith found himself in a position to score his first try of the 2020 campaign to take back a 14 – 10 lead.
Head coach, Jason Holland, says keeping that advantage for the remainder of the first half took a lot of determination.
“We defended with a lot of pride in that period before halftime and that was a big moment in the game.”
The second half was just as tough, if not more so as the home side put away two tries by the 60-minute mark. The result was a 10-point difference until Jordie Barrett took advantage of a long-range penalty to reign that gap back to seven.
With 10 minutes to go, Asafo Aumua, came to the party and put the game into a 24- 24 deadlock.
But perhaps the hardest fought battle happened in the dying seconds of the game as the Hurricanes went through 36 phases of attack before a penalty was finally conceded by the Chiefs.
Barrett, with the weight of the franchise on his shoulders capitalised on the kick and gave his side its first win over a New Zealand team this year.
Holland says the victory showed real discipline.
“I was delighted with our intent for the whole 80 minutes and the discipline and patience we showed to grind back from 24 – 14 down to get that final penalty shows the character of the boys.”
The Hurricanes now have a week in Wellington before they travel down south to face the Crusaders next Friday.