Chiefs beat Hurricanes 17-14 in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Winger James Lowe marked his 50th Super Rugby match with a set-piece try which lifted the Chiefs over the Hurricanes 17-14 in a rugged New Zealand derby on Friday.
Replacement Shaun Stevenson broke from a scrum near halfway and linked with Lowe, whose try gave the Chiefs a 14-7 lead after the teams were locked 7-7 at halftime.
Fullback Damian McKenzie clinched the win with a penalty five minutes from fulltime, though All Black brothers Beauden and Jordie Barrett combined to create a try for replacement winger Wes Goosen which cut the lead to four points and earned the Hurricanes a bonus point.
That point kept the Hurricanes in second place in the New Zealand conference, 10 points behind the unbeaten Crusaders and a point ahead of the Chiefs, who have won the last three matches between the teams.
The match featured 11 members of the All Blacks team and 10 members of the New Zealand Maori side named on Thursday to play against the British and Irish Lions.
Jordie Barrett and centre Ngani Leaumape, who have both been named in the an All Blacks squad for the first time, had strong games for the Hurricanes, who dominated a fast-paced first half before errors allowed the Chiefs back into the match.
Flyhalf Aaron Cruden scored a first-half try for the Chiefs before leaving the field at halftime with a knee injury, the only member of the All Blacks squad to be hurt in an intense and physical contest.
The first half was played at breathtaking pace and with an extraordinary level of skill, though outstanding defense from both sides allowed only a try apiece.
Lock Vaea Fifita scored in the fifth minute after the Hurricanes held the ball from the kickoff, and Jordie Barrett converted.
Hurricanes captain and All Blacks scrumhalf TJ Perenara made a spectacular try-saving tackle on Chiefs and All Blacks centre Anton Lienert-Brown in the the 10th, and centre Vince Aso made another on Cruden in the 30th. It was in that tackle that Cruden strained his knee.
In between, Cruden scored for the Chiefs from a break by winger Solomon Alaimalo and an infield pass from Charlie Ngatai.
The Chiefs gradually gained some control in the second half and pressed the Hurricanes onto defense. Lowe's try still came somewhat against the run of play but was enough to decide a close match.
The Hurricanes were in danger of losing their bonus point when McKenzie kicked his late penalty for a 10-point lead but retrieved it with a well-worked try, when Beauden and Jordie Barrett combined to put Goosen over in the right corner.