The Hurricanes are a game away from a third Super Rugby final in four seasons after they overcame the Chiefs 32-31 in Friday’s quarter-final.
Seven days earlier, the Chiefs had beaten the Hurricanes in the final regular-season encounter, but a repeat at Westpac Stadium proved beyond them in an entertaining contest that started with a Julian Savea interception try in the first minute.
The Chiefs stayed within striking until just after the hour mark, when TJ Perenara’s second try helped the Hurricanes to pull away.
A pair of late consolation tries from the Chiefs ensured the final score was one that reflected what was for the most part a tight tussle, but it is the Hurricanes who progress to face either the Crusaders or the Sharks in the last four.
Savea opened the scoring in spectacular fashion when he picked off a pass and raced away to score under the posts.
He came close to repeating the feat soon after but was hauled down deep in the Chiefs’ territory.
Final Four. pic.twitter.com/VeAiOuSBes
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) July 20, 2018
But six minutes after Savea had broken the deadlock, the Chiefs levelled matters as neat handling work down the left sent Brad Weber in to dot down.
Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie traded penalties before Perenara dashed over to restore the Hurricanes’ advantage and give them a 17-10 lead going into the break.
Anton Lienert-Brown redressed the balance 11 minutes into the second half as he latched onto an excellent run from Lachlan Boshier.
However, the boot of Barrett nudged the Hurricanes ahead once more and this time there was no way back for the Chiefs.
Perenara squirmed over for his second after some intense pressure on the Chiefs line before Ben Lam gave the Hurricanes what proved decisive breathing room when he went over in the left corner.
McKenzie finished off a well-worked move and Boshier crashed over from short range as the Chiefs finished their season with a flourish to give the scoreline a much more flattering look.
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