The Chiefs returned from their bye week with a comprehensive 30-13 win over the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Chiefs returned from their bye week with a comprehensive 30-13 victory over the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.
Dave Rennie's charges now move provisionally top of the overall standings after replacing the Highlanders courtesy of scores from Robbie Robinson, Sona Taumalolo and Liam Messam.
It was loosehead prop Taumalolo's fourth try in five matches and fly-half Aaron Cruden kicked six goals from six in the workmanlike performance.
The result, which will hurt the Waratahs after their strong start to proceedings, sees the Australians fail to back up last week's victory over the Sharks.
The Sydney side are now firmly rooted to third position in their conference after suffering four defeats in their opening six fixtures in 2012.
As mentioned, Michael Foley's side had started strongly and they in fact crossed for the first try of the match through winger Tom Kingston after only five minutes. Scrum-half Brendan McKibbin, again preferred to Sarel Pretorius, kicked to make it 0-7.
But then the in-form Robinson went in after good initial work from the busy Tim Nanai-Williams, which led to Cruden sending over the leveller to make it 7-7 with 11 played.
McKibbin and Cruden then traded penalties before the half-hour and that looked to be how things would stay going into the break until the New Zealander added a further three points that handed the hosts an advantage. It was a fair reflection of how things had played out.
And things got a whole lot better for the Chiefs upon the turnaround when their top try-scorer of the Super Rugby season thus far, Taumalolo, scored three minutes after the break. That try arrived thanks to a chip that found centre Richard Kahui who fed his prop on the right.
McKibbin kicked his last goal in the 48th minute, cutting the lead to 20-13, but that was their last score as Cruden sent over his fifth shot and then converted Messam's 67th-minute try.
Tries: Robinson, Taumalolo, Messam
Con: Cruden 3
Pen: Cruden 3
Pen: McKibbin 2
Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Tim Nanai-Williams, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Arizona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Lelia Masaga.
Waratahs: 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (c).
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 Jono Jenkins, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Daniel Halangahu.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)