Super Rugby
Hurricanes outclass Chiefs to confirm top billing
June 13, 2015
Date/Time: Jun 13, 2015, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Chiefs 13 - 21 Hurricanes
Half-time: 13 - 14
Tries: Heem
Cons: MR McKenzie
Pens: MR McKenzie 2
Tries: Marshall, Smith, Penalty
Cons: Marshall 3
The Hurricanes' Callum Gibbins celebrates the try of Conrad Smith, Chiefs v Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Yarrow Stadium New Plymouth, June 13, 2015
The Hurricanes' Callum Gibbins celebrates the try of Conrad Smith
© Getty Images
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The Hurricanes confirmed their status as Super Rugby favourites with an impressive winning performance in their traditional home territory of New Plymouth, taking their chances efficiently in a bruising clash as their hosts sought to avenge the 22-18 loss in Wellington a month ago.

The runaway competition leaders scored three tries to one in posting the final 21 points of the match to ensure they finish at least 13 points clear of the field heading into the play-offs. They will get a week off before hosting the lowest-ranked qualifiers in a semi-final on June 27. The fifth-placed Chiefs now travel to Dunedin to face the fourth-placed Highlanders in a qualifying final next week.

The Chiefs began strongly with a healthy breeze at their back,dominating the set pieces and defending ferociously - no more so than when Sonny Bill Williams, who was a powerful presence in his first game back after nursing a back injury for a month, hammered Conrad Smith with a bone-rattling hit. They powered to a 13-0 advantage through a converted sniff the 37-point winning margin they needed to leap-frog the Highlanders on the ladder.

Momentum swung to the Hurricanes in a key moment in the 35th minute, when Chiefs fullback Tom Marshall, the brother of Hurricanes five-eighth James Marshall, was ruled to have shoulder-charged Julian Savea when the Hurricanes wing spilled the ball over the tryline.

Chiefs 13-21 Hurricanes (video available only in Australia)

Marshall was sin-binned and the Hurricanes were awarded a penalty try that was hotly disputed by the Chiefs, who 70-metre intercept try by wing Bryce Heem and two penalties from Marty McKenzie, but they failed thereafter to even believed Savea had lost control of the ball before contact.

The Hurricanes capitalised on their one-man advantage when James Marshall made a sizzling break to send Conrad Smith over the tryline to establish a 14-13 half-time lead. Marshall, who scored 11 points, himself then snaffled an intercept from McKenzie in the 54th minute before errors crept in from both teams - not least from Mitchell Crosswell, who dropped the ball with a clean run to the tryline as the Chiefs tried to narrow the Hurricanes' eight-point margin.

The Hurricanes' 14-2 win-loss return equals the competition record achieved by the Stormers in 2012, but they claimed 10 bonus points compared with two by the South African side.


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