McKenzie stars as Chiefs down Brumbies
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie's brilliance made sure his side secure a 28-10 win over the Brumbies on Saturday.
The Chiefs scored three tries to one and lead throughout as fullback Damien McKenzie inspired them to an easy win.
The result in the final round of the regular season gives New Zealand teams a 25-0 winning record against Australian opposition, the first such clean sweep over their trans-Tasman rivals.
Australia's horror run against Kiwi teams actually extends to 30-0 if results from last year are factored in.
Both sides had already qualified for the quarter-finals but the Chiefs needed a win to keep alive their hopes of overtaking the Wellington Hurricanes, who face the Crusaders later Saturday.
The team that emerges on top will play the Brumbies in Canberra next week, rather than enduring a draining trip to Cape Town to face the Stormers.
The Brumbies, guaranteed a home quarter-final next week after topping the Australian conference with just six wins, named a virtual reserve team for the Hamilton fixture.
Yet they dominated early possession against their more fancied opponents but could not convert it into points before a Damian McKenzie penalty put the Chiefs on the board.
McKenzie followed up with a scintillating try, swerving his way through the Brumbies defence after a perfectly timed run onto Solomona Alaimalo's pass.
Hard-running centre Nigel Ah Wong found a gap to hit back for the Brumbies almost immediately with a converted try, as the visitors added a penalty to cut the Chiefs' lead at half-time to 13-10.
But scrum-half Tomas Cubelli was sinbinned shortly after the restart and the Chiefs made the most of the advantage, sending Alaimalo over in the corner.
They continued to press and Michael Leitch raced over the sideline with 10 minutes to go to put the result beyond doubt.
Man of the match: Chiefs wing James Lowe provided some spark out wide. But our nod goes to Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie who produced the magic in the Chiefs' backline.
Tries: McKenzie, Lowe, Leitch
Cons: McKenzie 2
Pens: McKenzie 3
Try: Ah Wong
Yellow Card: Tomas Cubelli (Brumbies,41 - not retreating 10 metres)
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Brumbies: 15 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Nigel Ah Wong, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy (captain), 5 Blake Enever, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Banks.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)