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Chiefs and Blues in Super Rugby final

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The Chiefs secured their spot in the Super Rugby Pacific final for the second consecutive year by defeating the top-ranked Hurricanes 30-19 in the semifinal.

The Chiefs will face the Blues, who advanced by beating the ACT Brumbies 34-20.

Backrower Wallace Sititi had a standout performance, intercepting a pass that led to a crucial 62nd-minute try by Daniel Rona. Flyhalf Damian McKenzie was perfect with six successful goal attempts. “We had a really good plan over the week and we just came out here and trusted it and were accurate,” said Chiefs captain Luke Jacobson.

The Hurricanes, who had dominated the regular season, faltered early in the match. The Chiefs capitalized on their slow start, scoring two tries within the first six minutes through Samipeni Finau and Cortez Ratima, building a 17-0 lead.

The Hurricanes struggled with an unusual and inaccurate kicking game and early indiscipline, which benefitted the Chiefs. By halftime, the Hurricanes trailed 17-7 and were down 20-7 just after the break. Brett Cameron’s try in the 56th minute brought the Hurricanes back into the match, reducing the deficit to 20-14.

However, Sititi’s crucial interception halted the Hurricanes’ momentum. He intercepted a pass and, although tackled just short of the goal line, set up Rona for a try. With McKenzie’s conversion and a penalty, the Chiefs extended their lead to 30-14.

The Hurricanes scored again through captain Billy Proctor, but Cameron’s missed conversion left the score at 30-19. The Chiefs maintained their lead and secured the victory, despite playing with a man in the sin-bin at one point.

Hurricanes captain Brad Shields expressed disappointment: “Early on, the first two tries the Chiefs got up was a bit of a shock. We’re just gutted because if you look back on our season, we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved.”

The Chiefs’ victory was built on a rapid start, beginning with Finau’s try in the third minute following a run by Emoni Narawa. Ratima added another try in the sixth minute after a fortuitous bounce. Despite Cameron’s try during a period when Jacobson was in the sin-bin, the Chiefs held firm to advance to the final.

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