Super Rugby Pacific: Table-topping Chiefs stay unbeaten with victory over winless Highlanders

The Chiefs have continued their perfect start to the Super Rugby Pacific season with an impressive 28-7 victory over the winless Highlanders at FMG Stadium.

Fullback Shaun Stevenson scored a second-half double to sink the lowly visitors and solidify themselves atop of the table as early competition frontrunners.

Nanai-Seturo scores.
Nanai-Seturo scores. Photo credit: Photosport

In a physical fixture marred by injuries and yellow cards, the Chiefs showed greater composure to grab the spoils in front of their 12,000 supporters.

First-five Damian McKenzie was instrumental in the win, with several sniping runs from behind the gain line to create overlaps out wide.

McKenzie drew in his opposite, before sending Etene Nanai-Seturo over for the game's first try, with the winger showing quick feet to step out of one tackle and stroll over.

The Highlanders could've hit back through a penalty goal, but English fullback Freddie Burns put it wide, as unforced errors started to mount.

Their lineout struggled for continuity, with several overthrows giving the ball right back to the Chiefs, and they paid for it.

Another strong Nanai-Seturo run set up a McKenzie shot at goal to extend the Chiefs' lead after another penalty went against the Highlanders.

Both teams lost players to injuries before halftime, with Tupou Vaa'i and Pari Pari Parkinson both forced from the field.

The rain started to bucket down as the Chiefs looked to improve on their 8-0 halftime lead, with McKenzie slotting another penalty goal, as replacement lock Fabian Holland was pinged for obstruction.

It then went from bad to worse for the Highlanders, with star loose forward Shannon Frizell shown a yellow card for not rolling away at the breakdown.

The Chiefs made the visitors pay just moments later with a quick-fire double-strike, with the Highlanders' defence unable to make up for the numerical disadvantage.

Second-five Rameka Poihipi timed his pass to Stevenson to perfection, as the fullback rounded the last defender to grab his first five-pointer.

Replacement lock Samipeni Finau went over just minutes later after a Brad Weber snipe allowed for the easiest of put-downs.

But the Highlanders would finally find some success, after Chiefs captain Sam Cane was shown a yellow card as he looked to pressure Aaron Smith at the breakdown.

The resulting scrum saw illustrious winger Mosese Dawai crash over underneath the goalposts to score his team's first try.

The Highlanders looked to be in again through Mitchell Hunt, but for incredible defence from McKenzie to get underneath the charging first-five and hold him up over the tryline.

Instead, it was the Chiefs who would have the last say, with McKenzie again involved, as he put Stevenson over for his second try to put a seal on the result.

Chiefs 28 (Stevenson 2, Nanai-Seturo, Finau tries; McKenzie 2 pen, 1 con) Highlanders 7 (Dawai try; Burns 1 con)