Hurricanes crush lacklustre Chiefs
Reigning Super Rugby champions the Chiefs saw their prospects of retaining the title dealt a huge blow after they crumbled to a brutal defeat against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
A 45-8 dismantling by their fellow New Zealand outfit saw the Chiefs slide to seventh in the table, one place behind their conquerors who have played an additional match.
The Hurricanes scored six tries to one in the trouncing of their illustrious visitors, who are chasing a third successive title in this competition.
All Blacks wing Julian Savea scored two of the tries, with the others going to Andre Taylor, Ben Franks, Jack Lam and Brad Shields.
A second-minute penalty from Gareth Anscombe had nudged the Chiefs ahead, but Taylor put the finishing touches to a flowing move to respond with a try almost immediately, with Beauden Barrett kicking the conversion.
The Chiefs led for a second time when Liam Squire dotted down in the 14th minute, but thereafter it was a one-sided contest as the home side dominated, punctuating play with their heavy scoring.
Prop Franks put the finishing touches to the move that brought their second try, in the 20th minute, and Barrett converted, as he did successfully with all the Hurricanes' scores.
Savea pounced for his first of the match in the 29th minute after smart work from Alapati Leiua, and his second arrived 10 minutes into the second half after more attacking ball-in-hand rugby. By that stage Barrett had already booted a penalty, as the onslaught continued, with the Chiefs unable to prevent the points stacking up.
Lam, making his 50th appearance for the team, ploughed through in the 62nd minute for the Hurricanes' fifth try, and Shields completed the Chiefs' humiliation with the sixth nine minutes from the end.