The Chiefs dropped out of the Super Rugby play-off places on Saturday after succumbing to a 45-8 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The Chiefs dropped out of the Super Rugby play-off places on Saturday after succumbing to a 45-8 loss to the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.
The result – combined with the Crusaders' narrow win over the Highlanders earlier in the day – means the Chiefs drop from first to fourth in the New Zealand conference.
In an unexpectedly one-sided contest – on the scoreboard at least – the Hurricanes outscored their visitors six tries to one to leapfrog the defending champions into the top six in the overall standings.
The Chiefs' usually solid defence let them down as it only took a handful of missed tackles to hand the Hurricanes opportunities to score. And the men in yellow grabbed every chance with both hands.
Indeed, the scoreline is probably not a fair reflection game as the Chiefs actually had the better of most of the stats, but once the Hurricanes were ahead, they never looked back.
Hurricanes wing Julian Savea had a blinder, scoring two tries and creating another for Andre Taylor. Ben Franks, Jack Lam and Brad Shields scored the home side's other tries as they put on an impressive display of handling.
Alapati Leiua was also instrumental playing a role in two of the three tries for the Hurricanes before the interval.
Beauden Barrett slotted all six conversions and a penalty as he laid a claim for the All Blacks number ten shirt in his battle with Aaron Cruden, who returned from a broken thump after 50-odd minutes but failed to spark a revival.
The Canes led 21-8 at the break as Taylor, Franks, Savea all touched down while the Chiefs only reply came via a try for replacement loose forward Liam Squire in the 14th minute.The champs never troubled the scorers again.
After the break, Savea got his second to wrap up up the bonus point with half an hour still left to play before Lam and Shields crashed over to rub salt in the Chiefs' wounds.
There was a down side for the Canes though as Taylor was taken off on a stretcher early in the second half with a serious ankle injury while Ben Franks was forced off with a groin injury.
Tries: Taylor, Franks, J. Savea 2, Lam, Shields
Cons: Barrett 6
Yellow card: Goodes
Yellow card: Retallick
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggies Goodes, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor
Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Tom Marshall.
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)