Facing a Chiefs team coming off their only loss of the season to the Reds, the Hurricanes knew they faced a tough contest in Hamilton on Saturday.
They were not helped by stormy weather that impacted much of the game, and the home team, restored to more like full strength, took the game to the visitors through their forward pack. That netted two first-quarter tries to hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho and lock Tupou Vaa'i and a 10-0 halftime lead.
Six minutes into the second half Vaa'i struck again from another goalline ruck. Desperation became the mother of invention for the Hurricanes, who, despite the conditions, moved the ball around, and with 23 minutes left, fullback Josh Moorby was on the end of the line and in space. He kicked ahead and headed the Chiefs' defenders to win the race and score. Soon after landing a penalty goal to extend the lead to 20-5, first five-eighths Damian McKenzie hesitated and lost the ball, which was picked off by Hurricanes' No8 Braydon Iose, who set sail for the line 50m away and was not challenged. While that got them within eight, the Chiefs soon extended their advantage with a second McKenzie penalty goal.
Chiefs 23 (Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tupou Vaa'i 2 tries; Damian McKenzie con, 2 pen) Hurricanes 12 (Josh Moorby, Brayden Iose tries; Aidan Morgan con). HT: 10-0
CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho, George Dyer, Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa'i, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane (co-c) Luke Jacobson, Brad Weber (co-c), Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Emoni Narawa, Shaun Stevenson
RESERVES: Tyrone Thompson, Ollie Norris, John Ryan, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Simon Parker, Cortez Ratima, Josh Ioane, Rameka Poihipi
HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Jacob Devery, Owen Franks, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Devan Flanders, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Brayden Iose, Cam Roigard, Aidan Morgan, Kini Naholo, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea (c), Josh Moorby
RESERVES: Hame Faiva, Tevita Mafileo, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Caleb Delany, Jamie Booth, Riley Hohepa, Salesi Rayasi
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Referee: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon