And Super Rugby is back! The defending champs came out on top a thrilling encounter with the Highlanders at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday.
The Chiefs won the game 41-27 after leading 16-14 at half-time, and were full value for the 5 log points, but no one would have been surprised had the scoreline been closer, with the Highlanders never giving up, and in fact, taking the lead twice during the game.
The Chiefs scored four tries through Tim Nanai-Williams (2), Patrick Osborne and Asaeli Tikoirotuma. Fullback Gareth Anscombe added three conversions and five penalties for a personal haul of 21 points.
The Highlanders replied with tries by fullback Ben Smith and wings Hosea Gear and Kade Poki. Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was on target with all three conversions as well as two penalties.
Defense has never been high on the agenda for the New Zealanders, and this, coupled with their truly amazing skills, especially in getting the ball away in the tackle, made for a truly entertaining, helter skleter, end to end, lung busting game of rugby.
With Tim Nanai-Williams in the form shown on Friday, the Chiefs certainly did not look like they missed Sonny Bill Williams. His subtle goose step on the way to the first of his tries was a sight to be hold!
Highlanders – Tries: Ben Smith, Hosea Gear, Kade Poki. Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (3). Penalties: Sopoaga (2).
Chiefs – Tries: Tim Nanai-Williams (2), Patrick Osborne, Asaeli Tikoirotuma. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (3). Penalties: Anscombe (4).