Defensive improvements impress
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has praised his side's defensive effort after they kept the Hurricanes try-less in their hard-fought 17-12 Super Rugby win in Wellington.
"We're rapt. It was difficult conditions and we always knew it would be a bit of an arm wrestle," said Rennie.
"The boys really stepped up defensively which was massive for us tonight. We're happy."
Conditions dictated the game plan for both sides which was to kick for territory and save any attempts of more expansive rugby for the opposition's 22.
It worked well for the Chiefs in the first half as Aaron Cruden kicked four penalties – to Beauden Barrett's three – to give the visitors a 12-9 lead at the break.
But much of the second spell was spent camped in their own half where the pressure of their defence forced the mistakes from the Hurricanes and ultimately led to the decisive try for openside flanker Tanerau Latimer.
"We played within ourselves a bit. We tried to kick a lot more and play at the right end of the field," said Rennie.
"When we got that right we got rewarded. We probably played big chunks of the second half without the ball so that put a bit more stress on us. But defensively the boys were outstanding."
The win keeps the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference but has left the Hurricanes' hopes of making the play-offs hanging by a thread.
"It was a big game. It was crucial for us. You get four points and you stay in the hunt. If we don't we go back in the pack," admitted Rennie.
"It was a big game for the Hurricanes too. They are probably not mathematically out of it but it gets a bit tighter from here."