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Chiefs beat Highlanders to stretch Super Rugby streak

By AAP
Freddie Burns of the Highlanders steps inside of Brad Weber of the Chiefs during the round 11 Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on May 05, 2023, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Flyhalf Damian McKenzie and fullback Shaun Stevenson led the Chiefs counter-attacking game as the Hamilton-based team beat the Dunedin-based Highlanders 52-28 to extend their winning start to the season in Super Rugby Pacific to 10 matches.

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McKenzie or Stevenson had a designing hand in five of the six tries scored by the Chiefs in their bonus-point win.

Another came from a 90-metre intercept by centre Daniel Rona, who scored two tries in his second Super Rugby match.

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McKenzie also kicked seven conversions and a penalty for 17 point in a flawless performance which saw him surpass 1000 points in Super Rugby.

The magnitude of the Chiefs’ win belied the fact they barely touched the ball in the first 20 minutes.

The Highlanders had 85 per cent of possession in that period and the few fragments the Chiefs got their hands on they kicked away and kicked badly, allowing the home team to score the first try through prop Ethan de Groot.

The Chi efs then scored four tries before halftime, including possibly the best of the season, and conceded another to lead 28-14 at the break.

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“We had to work very, very hard for it,” Chiefs captain Brad Weber said.

“Most of our tries came from counterattack.

“I wouldn’t say we have free licence (to counterattack).

“We’ve certainly got a plan with our counterattack but also with the back three we’ve got and when Damian gets back there you want them to express themselves when the situation allows it and we certainly encourage them to do that.”

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