Road to the Final: Chiefs

Thu, Jun 20, 2024, 1:02 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

The Chiefs entered 2024 fuelled by the hurt of last season after their incredible year ended with yet another Crusaders win and Scott Robertson breakdance.

Clayton McMillan's side has hit form at the right time of the competition to storm their way into the decider in Auckland.

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They are the first side since 2015 to make the Final from outside of the top three as they look to emulate the Highlanders' heroics.

Rugby.com.au has looked back at how they got to the final, pinpointing the key moments and matches that defined their season.

Revenge is sweet

The Chiefs were hurting after last year’s Final defeat and were eager to make amends in the opening game of the season.

The Crusaders entered the season as the team to beat but it was Clayton McMillan’s side with all the momentum after the 80 minutes as they took out the four point win.

They caught the visitors off guard with two quick tries before the boot of Josh Ioane sealed the win with two penalty goals.

Brumbies bashing 

The Chiefs showed their opening round win was no fluke as they bashed the Brumbies at Super Round.

The Brumbies were no match for the red-hot Chiefs, who powered their way through a formidable pack to a convincing victory.

They had a 13-point lead after the first half-hour and raced away with the game late in the second half to claim the 46-12 win.

Back-to-back wins over title-contending teams had proven the Chiefs were a team to fear in 2024.

Finding the Blue-print

Following this, the Chiefs had a mixed mid-season campaign with thumping wins offset by defeats to the Reds and Crusaders.

They were then outmatched by the Hurricanes and Blues to finish the season, ending their hopes of jumping into title contention.

The Hurricanes' defeat was the most frustrating, with Damian McKenzie levelling the scores with nine minutes to go, before Brett Cameron’s penalty after the siren broke the deadlock.

They would then go down to the Blues to finish the round, which reinforced the need for their physical pack to make their mark on the game.

The perfect half

The two defeats proved to be the perfect warm-up for the finals as the Chiefs went out and blew the Reds out of the waters.

The quarter-final was expected to be the closest of the four across the weekend but the Chiefs didn’t give the Queenslanders a sniff in a dominant first half.

They scored 31 answered points as All Black Saminsoni Taukei’aho scored a double in a frightening display of talent from the Chiefs. 

Revenge is even sweeter

The Chiefs proved their quarter-final win was no fluke as they bashed their way into the Final.

They had lost both prior games to the Hurricanes but the Chiefs came out flying thanks to two tries in the first five minutes.

The Hurricanes tried to respond but young number eight Wallace Sititi was immense in terms of shutting down their momentum and keeping the Chiefs on the front foot.

Daniel Rona’s try just after the hour mark sealed the win for the Chiefs and their shot at going one step further than 2023.

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