Hooker Andrew Hore was the hat-trick hero as the Canes ended the Chiefs Vodacom Super 14 semi-final aspirations in Wellington.
Hore crossed the line for three pushover tries â€“ an indication of the type of rugby that was employed by both teams in a match that delivered little excitement, but was a true and fierce contest throughout. It was the first ever hat-trick scored by a hooker in the history of Super Rugby.
The 25-point difference was not really a fair reflection, with the Chiefs giving a good account of themselves, but poor kicking ultimately cost them a chance of pushing the Hurricanes to the very end. The home side though finished strongly and the last ten minutes was all the Hurricanes as they ran in two tries.
The win pushes the â€˜Canes up to 39 points, but still in third spot trailing the Waratahs and Crusaders. Their place in the top four looks practically safe and now leaves three teams â€“ the Brumbies, Bulls and Sharks â€“ fighting for the last remaining place.
The Chiefs opened the scoring through a Stephen Donald penalty in the second minute, but that was to be their only reward in a half that was littered with errors from both teams.
The home side had flyhalf David Holwell to thank for the healthy half-time lead of 16-3. The No 10 kicked three penalties and converted hooker Andrew Horeâ€™s try, but his limited distribution skills failed to ignite the potent Hurricanes backline.
When the ball was spun wide, it was often spilled as the players failed to come to grips with the wetness, with Maâ€™a Nonu and Tana Umaga the key culprits.
The second half saw both teams try and be more positive and it resulted in Hore scoring two more tries and effectively shut the Chiefs out. After the hooter, Umaga put a kick ahead for Shannon Paku to chase and he easily got to the ball first for a fine try and a valuable bonus point.
Hurricanes – Tries: Andrew Hore (3), Shannon Paku. Conversions: David Holwell (2), Jimmy Gopperth. Penalties: Holwell (3)
Chiefs – Tries: Sam Tuitupou. Conversion: Stephen Donald. Penalty: Donald.
By Andrew Hollely