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Chiefs blow 'Canes away to advance to final

MATCH REPORT: The Chiefs have beaten the Hurricanes 30-19 in the semifinal of Super Rugby to advance to the final.

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The boot of Chiefs flyhalf Damian McKenzie, who converted all three tries and kicked three penalties, helped his side secure the win.

The Chiefs scored two of their three tries in the opening six minutes to take control of the semifinal in Wellington and a perfect six-from-six shots at goal from McKenzie kept them in front.

The Blues will host the all-New Zealand Final at Eden Park next Saturday after they beat the Brumbies 34-20 in Friday’s semifinals.

Both teams have lost finals to the Crusaders over the last two seasons, with the Chiefs falling short last year.

They’ll chase their first title since winning back-to-back finals in 2012 and 2013 while the three-time champion Blues last claimed the Super Rugby silverware in 2003.

The top-qualifying Hurricanes were favoured to advance in front of their home supporters and stretch their winning streak at home to 10 matches.

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However, they were rocked onto the back foot early on and couldn’t recover from a 7-17 halftime deficit, with McKenzie dictating play with his boot in general play as well as amassing 15 points.

The Chiefs lost fullback Shaun Stevenson to an undisclosed injury before kickoff while their All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho limped off with a leg ailment midway through the first half.

The visitors were also twice reduced to 14 players, with Samipeni Finau shown a yellow card for a late collision in the first half and fellow-flank Luke Jacobson sanctioned the same way for a similar offence after the break.

However, their defence largely held firm, reducing the threat of a Hurricanes attack which has terrorised defences this season.

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The Chiefs raced 14-0 ahead through sweeping tries to Finau and scrumhalf Cortez Ratima.

Both were converted by McKenzie, who added a penalty before the Hurricanes got a foothold in the game, crossing through flank Peter Lakai.

McKenzie’s second penalty stretched the lead to 13 points before a high-octane Hurricanes attack ended in a try to flyhalf Brett Cameron.

The match swung on an intercept from 21-year-old back row forward Wallace Sititi, who stormed 60m downfield after an intercept, setting up a try to Daniel Rona.

A 50m penalty goal from McKenzie was followed by a consolation Hurricanes try to Billy Proctor.

Scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Lakai, Cameron, Proctor
Cons: Cameron 2

For Chiefs:
Tries: Finau, Ratima, Rona
Cons: McKenzie 3
Pens: McKenzie 3

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Justin Sangster, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones
Replacements: 16 James O’Reailly, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 James Tucker, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 22 Richard Judd, 23 Bailyn Sullivan

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Luke Jacobson (captain), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Jimmy Tupou, 3 George Dyer, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Quinn Tupaea, 23 Daniel Rona

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy and Matt Kellahan
TMO: Brett Cronan

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