17 May 2015

Controversy as Hurricanes tame Chiefs

2:21 pm on 17 May 2015

The Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was left fuming after the Hurricanes edged his side 22-18 in a controversial Super Rugby clash to take an imposing 13-point lead at the top of the standings.

Ma'a Nonu scores against the Chiefs 2015.

Ma'a Nonu scores against the Chiefs 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ma'a Nonu's anticipated head-to-head with Sonny Bill Williams was called off because of a back injury to the Chiefs centre but the incumbent All Blacks number 12 ensured he remained in the spotlight with another fine display for the Hurricanes, scoring two tries in the victory.

A sidestep off his right foot brought him his 49th Super Rugby try in the ninth minute and he reached the half century with a ball-juggling interception and dash to the line 13 minutes from time.

The Hurricanes were made to work hard for their 11th win in 12 matches this season, though, and only a contentious knock-on call deprived Chiefs replacement back Augustine Pulu of what would probably have been the winning try a minute from the end.

The Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the TMO's ruling was "unacceptable".

The Chiefs had one last chance to grab the victory from a five-metre scrum after the hooter had sounded but the Hurricanes pack generated a huge shove to earn a penalty which ended the contest.

The clash between the best two sides in New Zealand was nip-and-tuck throughout the 80 minutes and a try from outside centre Charlie Ngatai after a searing break from winger Bryce Heem had given the Chiefs a 13-10 lead at halftime.

The Hurricanes got back in front six minutes after the break when they finally got the catch-and-drive going at the third attempt and flanker Ardie Savea came off the back of the rolling maul to score their second try.

Hurricanes first-five James Marshall crossed after the ball had gone through seven pairs of hands in the 64th minute but a forward pass erased what would have been a try of the season contender.

The home side looked home and dry when Nonu picked off Mitchell Graham's pass to score four minutes later but Chiefs flanker Sam Cane crashed over six minutes from time to set up a thrilling finale at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith suffered a head knock during the game and may be rested for next weekend's match against the Blues.