WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Flyhalf Beauden Barrett put in a sparkling all-round display as the Hurricanes moved to the top of the New Zealand Conference with a 25-13 victory over the Chiefs in their Super Rugby clash in Wellington on Friday.
Barrett scored one try with a fine solo effort and set up another for centre Ngani Laumape as the home side extended their run of success at the Westpac Stadium to 20 victories in their last 22 games.
In-form wing Ben Lam had opened the scoring for the Hurricanes, who took a 10-6 halftime lead, while the Chiefs’ lone score came from flank Lachlan Boshier.
But Barrett’s brilliance just after half-time saw the Hurricanes streak ahead in the contest and they were able to comfortably hold on in the final 20 minutes.
They took over at the top of their conference from the Crusaders, who have a bye this weekend.
The Hurricanes have moved to 27 points from seven matches, three ahead of the Crusaders and six in front of the Chiefs.
They always appeared in control of the game as the powerful Lam shrugged off three defenders to put the Hurricanes in front inside seven minutes as he spotted a gap in the Chiefs backline and then powered past the flailing defenders.
Fullback Jordie Barrett kicked the first of two penalties to go with two conversions as the home side extended their lead further, before Chiefs flyhalf Damian McKenzie hit back with two penalties before the break.
The game was in the balance at that stage, but Beauden Barrett increased his side’s advantage with an excellent pick-up on the run and kick ahead that he managed to ground ahead of Brodie Retallick.
He then turned creator with a cross-kick that proved perfect for Laumape to snatch in the air ahead of Anton Lienert-Brown and canter over for the score.
Chiefs kept attacking and Boshier showed good gas out wide to cross in the corner after collecting McKenzie’s pass, but they created little in the way of opportunities after that.
The result ended a run of five victories in a row for the visitors, who had not lost since an opening 45-23 reversal against the Crusaders.
Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly