Chiefs stay alive, Hurricanes season ends

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James Mortimer     05 Jul 2014     Getty Images

With Chiefs centurion Tanerau Latimer, Bundee Aki and Aseli Tikoirotuma all playing their final home matches, it was a chance for the defending champions to avenge a 45-8 loss earlier in the season.

Both outfits showed their intent with early opportunities to launch their attack at each other's opposing try lines but the teams defences showed they were up to the task.

As the Chiefs and Hurricanes looked for an advantage, eventually the first points of the match came through a penalty to the hosts as Aaron Cruden provided the 3-0 lead.

However, the Hurricanes replied immediately after as first five Beauden Barrett leveled the score with a difficult attempt.

The Chiefs would come back again at the opponents, this time electing to turn down the penalty shot and converting soon after as prop Jamie Mackintosh plowed his way over from close range for the try.

Playing against each other, New Zealand's top number 10s were able to trade penalties after both teams were penalised for being offside by referee Nick Briant.

Although in an explosive start to the second stanza, the Hurricanes missed a possible chance when the promising Ardie Savea brushed off a Chiefs defender but was unable to link up with brother Julian for what could've been a try.

Minutes later, Barrett stepped up to slot his third penalty of the night to reduce the margin to within a converted try at 16-9

The Chiefs would also go within scoring range when fullback Tom Marshall went close to dotting down but only for some desparate defence sweeping across to deny him.

The home side weren't about to let another chance slip when several Chiefs players combined to put Cruden into open space.

From there the captain linked up with the rampaging lock Brodie Retallick proving to be too big and too strong close to the line for the try and giving the Chiefs some breathing space on the scoreboard.

In a telling moment moments after, an apparent tip tackle cost the Chiefs field position and the Hurricanes cashed in with a try to second five Hadleigh Parkes.

But upon replay it looked as though the former Blues and Southern Kings player had lost the ball over the line but the try had been awarded.

As the clock winded down both teams showed a willingness to keep on attacking and look to post further points but eventually the Chiefs held on to keep their finals hopes alive.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said afterwards the team's performance was "quite a few notches up' from previous games this season as they broke their recent run of losses.

"Attitude was great, a lot of intensity and created a lot of opportunities and played the game at the right end of the field.

"We probably should've won by more and potentially we could've got four tries so we're happy with [the win] it's a step up," he said.

It was the same thought echoed by standout halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow who mentioned that he was impressed with how the team were able to bounce back after some disappointing results.

"We showed tremendous amount of attitude and self-belief to come back from a couple of disappointing weeks.

"But we just went out there, played our own game, sticking together as a family, as a team and slowly we ground the Hurricanes down."

Kerr-Barlow added that the match held further importance being the final home game for a few players who are set to depart at the end of the season.

The All Black believed the team had put in a strong outing for those players and in particular Lats [Tanerau Latimer] who is one of the more senior members of the side.

Now the Chiefs will look to evaluate their performance and aim to repeat the result again next week against a tough Blues side.

Like the Chiefs, the Blues are looking to squeeze into the playoffs with a win at Eden Park next Friday with kickoff at 7.35pm although the defending champions are still hunting to defend their crown.