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Chiefs secure big win in front of big crowd

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Apr 2012     Getty Images

Over 22,000 spectators were in attendance, the highest crowd at the venue since the 2009 semi-final - also against the Hurricanes - and they were treated to an entertaining Investec Super Rugby contest.

Andre Taylor and Arizona Taumalolo dotted down for their respective sides for the seventh time this season as their quest to secure the most tries in a season ended in a stalemate in Hamilton.

Aaron Cruden kicked three conversions and four penalties for a personal haul of 18 points, while his Hurricanes counterpart could only score from three penalties in what was an indifferent night with the kicking tee for Barrett.

The victory sees the Chiefs move to 39 points and cements their position atop the Super Rugby ladder with 39 points, while the Hurricanes' failure to secure any competition points has threatened to see their season slip away in front of them.

Before the match, a moment's silence was taken to mark the death of former All Black player and coach Sir Fred Allen, while an earlier tribute from local musician Alex Louise acknowledged the role of the ANZAC veterans and their contribution to society.

The large crowd at Waikato Stadium was still building when the Chiefs got on the board as a couple of quick penalties to Aaron Cruden ensured the hosts started with a 6-0 lead.

Barrett kicked one of his own before the Manawatu first five-eighths restored his side's six-point advantage.

Referee Jonathon White's whistle underwent a thorough night after yet another Hurricanes player was deemed to be offside, which Cruden capitalised on by kicking his fourth penalty of the match.

Three-pointers weren't the only pieces of play that had the crowd at Waikato Stadium rumbling with delight, as the twinkle-toed Taumalolo darted for another giant run before making space available for Sonny Bill Williams and Tim Nanai-Williams before the latter was tackled out of play.

Disappointment turned to nervous twitches as Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor notched his seventh try of the season when he broke through the Chiefs' line and faked a pass to Julian Savea before darting in the corner to reduce the deficit to four.

The Taranaki first five-eighths was unable to convert the five-pointer but the Hurricanes clearly had the momentum.

The visitors were almost in again with a minute remaining in the first half but he was taken out of play with the corner flag in sight to the delight of the cowbell-tolling crowd in Hamilton.

The metal clinks soon turned to cheers of delight as winger Lelia Masaga brushed off the tackle of TJ Perenara to score under the posts and push their lead out to 19-8.

But two infringements were quickly cashed in on by Barrett, reducing the hosts' lead to five with 25 minutes to play.

It was as close as they got, however, as Taumalolo continued his tryscoring run to the adoration of his many followers before fellow prop Toby Smith ensured the contest was well and truly over with five minutes still to play.

Chiefs 33 (Lelia Masaga, Arizona Taumalolo, Toby Smith tries; Aaron Cruden 3 con, 4pen) Hurricanes 14 ( Andre Taylor try; Beauden Barrett 3pen) HT: 12-8.