The Chiefs have continued their strong start to the season with a 28-21 win over the Highlanders.

The win was thanks to a strong first half as the Chiefs ran away with a 21-0 lead at the break.

The Highlanders’ start set the tone for a rough opening 40 minutes when returning flyhalf Rhys Patchell put the opening kick-off into touch on the full.

It set the Chiefs in perfect field position and whilst Damian McKenzie's penalty didn't have the distance, Daniel Rona opened the scoring when Shaun Stevenson put him into space with a nice offload.

The Chiefs' pack rolled through and took advantage of a yellow card to Timoci Tavatavanawai when hooker Bradley Slater mauled his way over the line.

Unfortunately, the half went from bad to worse when centre Tanielu Tele'a was yellow carded for a dangerous cleanout on Quinn Tupaea, eventually upgraded to a red.

Tupaea's centre partner Rameka Poihipi was the benefactor, slicing over the line to cement the commanding advantage.

Cortez Ratima looked to seal the win when he dived over the line, capping off an impressive night for the scrumhalf as he backed up a Damian McKenzie break.

However, the Highlanders refused to die and it was Tavatavanawai that sparked them into life.

The winger scored in the 59th minute for their first points of the game before a yellow card to Chiefs number eight Luke Jacobson completed the shift in momentum,

Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens dived over the line and when Nikora Broughton darted over with two minutes to go, suddenly the game came alive.

The Highlanders had one last chance to score after the siren but the Chiefs defence held strong to come away with the win.

Chiefs 28 [Tries: Rona, Ratima, Slater, Poihipi; Cons: McKenzie 4] Highlanders 21 [Tries: Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Tavatavanawai, Broughton; Cons: Gilbert 3]

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Daniel Rona, 13 Rameka Poihipi, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Luke Jacobson (captain), 7 Kaylum Boshier, 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Josh Lord, 3 Reuben O’Neill, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Jared Proffit.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 George Dyer, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Wallace Sititi, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Emoni Narawa.

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Sam Gilbert, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Billy Harmon (captain), 6 Sean Withy, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Fabian Holland, 3 Saula Ma’u, 2 Henry Bel, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Replacements: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Oliver Haig, 20 Nikora Broughton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Ajay Faleafaga, 23 Connor Garden-Bachop.

Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Referee: Dan Waenga, Mike Winter
TMO: Richard Kelly