Waratahs grind down the Chiefs in New Plymouth

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James Mortimer     01 Jun 2014     Getty Images

Dave Rennie's men will finish the round at the best in ninth place, while the Waratahs will likely finish the weekend in second position.

Aaron Cruden's return - among eight changes to the starting XV for the champions - was something that could influence that match, as "we will rock you" blared over Waikato Stadium's sound system as the high stakes contest began.

The Chiefs were given a gift chance in the second minute, with the Waratahs conceding an early penalty which Cruden knocked over for a 3-0 advantage.

Yet from there the tourists lifted their game with the Waratahs taking their fifth win in their last six matches against the defending champions.

Israel Folau would open the contest's tries when scoring his 11th five pointer for 2014, and after the decision went upstairs, the Waratahs fullback scored, thanks to a great break by Adam Ashley-Cooper.

As the game approached the end of the first quarter, the visitors were beginning to gain a slight edge, their tackling division was initially successful in rattling the two-time champs.

The Chiefs were clearly focused on moving the ball from the hands, but the New South Welshmen were moving forward with aggressive defence.

In the 23rd minute the Waratahs put together the most impressive scrum of the game so far, from five metres out they popped up the Chiefs front row up.

This pressure, at this point the tourists were looking up for the clutch match, would only lead to a Foley penalty few minutes later.

The Waratahs were beginning to mount up the statistics, but the Chiefs, despite some willing attack, were conceding the key numbers.

At halftime, the tourists went to eat oranges with a 13-3 lead.

Cruden missed an early penalty in the 45th minute, but this counted for little as the Chiefs put together their best period of the contest.

Aki scored his second try after a good build up from the Chiefs in the 62nd minute, which Cruden converted to give the home team a 17-16 lead with 16 minutes to play.

But another Foley penalty, along with a try from Dave Dennis, would give the Waratahs a 26-17 lead with several minutes to play.

The Waratahs number nine Foley, arguably the most complete player on the field, would score in the final minutes to secure victory.

The victors have two straight games in Sydney when Investec Super Rugby resumes, while the Chiefs travel to Dunedin at the end of June

Chiefs 17

Tries: Aki (54), (62)
Cons: Cruden (55), 63)
Pens: Cruden (2)

Waratahs 33

Tries: Folau (14), Dennis (72), Foley (80)
Cons: Foley (15), (73), (81)
Pens: Foley (8), (25)m (68) and Beale (57)