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Brett Cameron nails game-winning penalty to down Chiefs in Hamilton

By Ned Lester
Xavier Numia of the Hurricanes celebrates the try. Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images

With just two weeks remaining before the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs, this clash between 2024 heavyweights offered an insight into which sides are peaking at the right point of the season.


A sellout crowd in Hamilton was treated to a nail-biting second half after a strong opening 40 from the Hurricanes. With the scores tied right up until the last minute, a penalty against Chiefs skipper Luke Jacobson handed the visitors a penalty attempt and the game was won in the dying moments.

The Chiefs had the first chance at points in the game when Raymond Tuputupu made contact with Tupou Vaa’i’s head and received a yellow card. Damian McKenzie lined up the penalty attempt but missed from a relatively straightforward angle.

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The Hurricanes’ discipline continued to haunt them as the Chiefs were able to launch attack after attack in good field position.

The Chiefs opted to go to the corner with the next penalty while up a man but were called for obstruction before they could launch their driving maul.

Tuputupu’s yellow was upgraded to a red card but the Hurricanes wouldn’t be dismayed by the deficit.

The breakdown battle was fierce but the Hurricanes were able to recycle the ball and when Peter Lakai received it at the centre of a midfield pod, he delivered the short ball to Xavier Numia who accelerated through the Chiefs’ defensive line. The prop had just Shaun Stevenson between him and the try line, and while the fullback got his arms around Numia, he couldn’t drag him down until the determined leg drive of the prop had made it over the chalk.


The momentum had swung firmly back to the favour of the 14-man visitors, and it was then the Chiefs who were guilty of a string of penalties. Kaylum Boshier’s swinging leg then tripped TJ Perenara in a ruck and it was deemed an intentional play by the referee, resulting in a yellow card for the openside flanker.

The Chiefs were wrestling momentum back but the return of Brayden Iose – who was taken off so the Hurricanes could field another hooker during Tuputupu’s red card – just shy of the half-hour mark saw the Hurricanes restored to their full complement, and the Hurricanes looked to exploit their advantage.

A lineout on the Chiefs’ 10-metre line saw Peter Lakai find Iose at first receiver, who threw the ball on his inside right as he hit the Chiefs line and Josh Moorby cantered through before finding Jordie Barrett who ran in for the try.

The Hurricanes’ attack was on song with Josh Moorby and Billy Proctor in particular proving a handful for the Chiefs’ defence.


Halftime rolled around with the Hurricanes’ set piece operating at 100 per cent despite the 20-minute red card period, with the visitors also missing just four tackles to see them ahead 14-0 in Hamilton.


The Chiefs needed just 40 seconds to strike in the second half, claiming their first points of the contest with an electric counter-attack ignited by swift ball movement in the midfield and Anton Lienert-Brown’s pace down the sideline, with the All Black delivering the offload to Emoni Narawa who ran the try in untouched.

Possession was under immense pressure for both teams as the lineout and breakdown saw a string of turnovers won throughout the opening 10 minutes of the second half, suggesting there were some orders from both coaches at halftime around those areas.

Xavier Numia won his team a breakdown penalty in comfortable range of the posts for Brett Cameron and the Hurricanes No. 10 reinstated his team’s double-digit lead.

A linebreak from Emoni Narawa spurred some desperation in defence from the Hurricanes, and in the rush, Kini Naholo was caught offside by a Chiefs cleaner and subsequently handed a yellow card.

Momentum was firmly on the home team’s side with that and the Chiefs attack piled on the pressure. Just two minutes into the yellow card, Wallace Sititi sprung off the back of a lineout drive and beat his opposite before reaching over the line to score. The conversion made it a three-point game.

Brett Cameron had a chance to make that lead six as the game entered its final quarter but his penalty attempt went wide right.

Shaun Stevenson’s monstrous boot consistently provided quality exits for the Chiefs while Jordie Barrett returned the favour for the Hurricanes.

Momentum didn’t favour either side in the final 20 minutes, with each gain hard-won for both teams.

A linebreak from Salesi Rayasi looked as if it may have stolen the game for the Hurricanes as the replacement wing found Brayden Iose who then was just shy of connecting with Richard Judd who would’ve likely scored, instead the play was broken up by the desperation of Josh Ioane.

A powerful tackle from Luke Jacobson stopped Jordie Barrett in his tracks off a lineout in the Chiefs’ half, but the No. 8 was pinned in the ruck and penalised, handing Brett Cameron a chance to take the lead in the final minute.

The No. 10 claimed the three points and the game was won 20-17 by the Hurricanes.

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Jon 25 days ago

Chiefs superior tactical kicking getting them through year after year. They’ll need to deliver something more if theyre to give these other two a run.

Would be a long time since you’d call Chiefs loosies lacking I reckon.

Willie 25 days ago

Red card? It barely warranted a penalty. I thought someone might have learned about TMO interference after the World Cup. Regrettably neither Aust nor NZ can find a good referee from anywhere, although I suspect there are some competent refs who cannot break into Super rugby because their bodies do not match the lean, athletic template.

Paul 25 days ago

I just hope that Paul Williams and Angus Gardiner do not ref the final !

William 25 days ago

Never watched a game that Paul Williams referred that I enjoyed, all stop start on top of poor calls

Paul 25 days ago

Wat is the Refs doing to Super Rugby …two games on Friday night 5 yellow cards ,,,one upgraded to red …some ref decisions are mind blowing and hard to fathom

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