Super Rugby Aotearoa: Damian McKenzie the once hero again with late penalty goal to break Hurricanes hearts

Damian McKenzie was the hero for the fourth straight game with an 82nd-minute penalty goal sealing a 26-24 victory for his side and break the heart of a gutsy Hurricanes side.

For the fourth successive game, McKenzie came to the resuce for his side. In the previous two matches - Crusaders and Highlanders, it was a late penalty goal and the game before that was a last gasp try against the Blues to become the main man for his side. 

The Chiefs won a scrum penalty in added-on time and the fullback stepped forward and nailed a 48-metre kick that never looked like missing to lift the home side to the verge of the Super Rugby Aotearoa final and send his teammates into wild celebrations. 

It was a tight contest throughout, but the Chiefs are the masters of winning the tight encounters with all of their five victories within six points.

Victory against the Blues will guarantee a spot in next month's finale, whole a Hamilton hosted Final is on the cards, if the Crusaders slip up against the Blues on Sunday.

The home side were outscored three tries to two, with McKenzie’s 16 points off the tee proving critical, as the Chiefs recovered well from a horror start.

The Hurricanes made a rip-roaring start with lock James Blackwell scoring a spectacular try, as he sprinted 30 metres to score inside the opening two minutes.

The Chiefs knew nothing but a win would do as they hunted a spot in the final and they responded well to dominate the first half.

The home side got their reward after 31 minutes. Their scrum was a weapon all night and that set up their opening try when Pita Gus Sowakula crashed over.

As the siren went, Jordie Barrett stepped up and slotted a monster penalty - which has become normal for him - to send the sides level at 10-10 at halftime.

The home side came out the better of the two sides and after a penalty goal from McKenzie, Gatland pounced on another big scrum from his side to crash over to open up a 10-point lead.

The Hurricanes hit back four minutes later when Billy Proctor crashed over after a long period of attack to see his side close the gap to six points.

The 'Canes' thought they had the match-winning try when hooker Asafo Aumua crashed over with 12 minutes remaining.

The Chiefs defended a lineout maul well, but Aumua broke off the back and use his speed and size to smash his way over to open up a one-point lead.

The home side pushed for a late try to claim victory, but the Hurricanes held firm but as the siren went for full time, the Chiefs had a scrum and their trusty weapon came to fruition once again and won them a penalty.

Up stepped the man of the moment in McKenzie to coolly slot the matching winning penalty goal to seal thw in and their fifth in a row. 

Chiefs 26 (Gus Sowakula, Gatland tries; McKenzie, 2 conversions, 4 penalty goals)

Hurricanes 24 (Blackwell, Proctor, Aumua tries; Barrett 3 conversions, penalty goal)

Super Rugby table: 

Crusaders - 23 points (played 7)
Chiefs - 20 points (played 7)
Blues - 15 points (played 6)
Highlanders - 14 points (played 7)
Hurricanes - 7 points (played 7)

Remaining fixtures: 

Crusaders v Blues 
Hurricanes v Highlanders 
Blues v Chiefs