The Chiefs held on grimly against the Western Force to win a grinding Super Rugby contest by the slimmest of margins, prevailing 22-21 in slippery conditions at Pukekohe on Friday night.
The Force outscored the hosts by two tries to one in an error-ridden battle in wet conditions - but the boot of late replacement Aaron Cruden proved to be the difference.
The All Black slotted a perfect six from six, after regular kicker Gareth Anscombe was ruled out before kick-off with a broken bone in his foot.
Anscombe's set to miss the next six weeks in a blow to the champions, who keep their spot at the top of the New Zealand conference.
Both sides scored a try each in the first half to Lelia Masaga and Pat Dellit as the Chiefs led 19-11 at the break. Dellit scored again but Sias Ebersohn couldn't kick a 53-metre late penalty, as the hosts clung on for the tough win.