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Chiefs into final after beating Hurricanes

The Chiefs started fast to upset the Hurricanes 30-19 in their Super Rugby Pacific semifinal in Wellington, setting up a title-deciding match against the Blues.

The visiting side scored two of their three tries in the first six minutes while first five Damian McKenzie landed all six of his shots at goal in a 15-point haul.


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No 8 Wallace Sititi was outstanding and flyhalf Damian McKenzie contributed 15 points with a perfect afternoon from the kicking tee as the Chiefs won a Super Rugby playoff on the road for the first time at the fifth attempt.

They will have to repeat the feat to secure a third Super Rugby title next Saturday at Eden Park against the Blues, who outmuscled the ACT Brumbies 34-20 in the first semi-final on Friday.

The Hurricanes, who topped the regular season standings and were aiming for a second Super Rugby title, were picked off too easily by the Chiefs at the breakdown and never really hit their full stride in attack.

The Chiefs raced out of the blocks and were two tries to the good after six minutes. Flanker Samipeni Finau scored the first in the third minute after a rampaging run down the right flank and basketball-style offload from wing Emoni Narawa.

Samipeni Finau tackles Hurricanes' TJ Perenara high tackle which earned him a yellow card
A controversial moment as Chiefs flanker Samipeni Finau tackles Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara high, earning a yellow card. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRPAHY

A blocked kick led to the second with 21-year-old Sititi storming through the midfield before finding Jacobson and the Chiefs skipper passing for halfback Cortez Ratima to touch down.

McKenzie converted both tries and added a penalty in the 15th minute to take the lead out to 17-0,

Canes flanker Peter Lakai finally got the home side on the board with a try five minutes later but the Hurricanes were still struggling to get passes to stick.

Ratima thought he had scored a second try after 25 minutes but it was called back for a foul shot on Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara, which resulted in Finau spending 10 minutes in the sin bin.

McKenzie got the next points with another penalty six minutes into the second half to extend the lead to 20-7, but the Chiefs were soon reduced to 14 men again when Jacobson was yellow-carded for a late hit on Jordie Barrett.

The Hurricanes were able to take advantage of the extra man this time as Brett Cameron grabbed their second try off a sweeping move and converted his own score to cut the deficit to 20-14 after 55 minutes.

Just when it looked like the momentum was finally with the home side, Sititi popped up with an interception and raced off up the field.

He was finally dragged down just short of the line but the Chiefs recycled the ball and winger Daniel Rona touched down for a converted try.

McKenzie kicked a third penalty in the 66th minute to take the lead out to 16 points and although the Hurricanes responded with a 71st-minute try from Billy Proctor, it was too little, too late.

It was a disappointing end to the season for the top-qualifying Hurricanes, whose nine-match winning streak at home came to an end.

The Chiefs were beaten finalists last year and will hope to go one better when they face the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.

Chiefs 30 (Samepeni Finau, Cortez Ratima, Daniel Rona tries; Damian McKenzie 3 con, 3 pen) Hurricanes 19 (Peter Lakai, Brett Cameron, Billy Proctor tries; Brett Cameron 2 con). HT: 17-7


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