Super Rugby Pacific: Resurgent Chiefs bank on semi-final experience against tabletopping Hurricanes

After a dominating performance last week, many believe the Chiefs can go all the way to the Super Rugby Pacific crown, as they prepare for their fourth semi-final in four years. 

Despite some average results during the regular season, the Hamilton-based side - among the title favourites at the start of the campaign - smashed Queensland Reds 43-21 in last week's quarter-final, putting themselves back in the title conversation. 

The Chiefs seem rather relaxed considering they have a semi this week, perhaps still riding the high of their last win. 

Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown celebrate a try against the Reds.
Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown celebrate a try against the Reds. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We were really pleased with the weekend's performance, probably our most complete performance all year," confirmed star first-five Damian McKenzie. 

Their encounter against the Reds was supposed to be the closest of all the four playoff games, but the Kiwi side had other ideas, dominating the first half 31-0. The win proved they were back to their best, while convincing others they could win the title. 

"They're probably in the boxseat right now," All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina told Sky's Breakdown. "There's a few injuries - the Hurricanes have a huge number of injuries, some key players at the Blues."

Their next challenge is beating the tabletopping Hurricanes at Wellington this Saturday. The two teams have played each other twice in the regular season, with the Chiefs losing both. 

"Probably fair to say that the two games we have played against them, they definitely outplayed us and outworked us around the field, so - for us - it's nailing on the small things."

The Chiefs hope their playoff experience will help them in their third encounter - the Hurricanes not reached the semi-finals since 2019.

"I'm not sure their guys have been in this situation for a while, so I feel like the experience and leadership we've had in the last few years will hold us in good stead to prepare well, and go out there and put our best foot forward," said assistant coach David Hill. 

They've proved they are more than capable. 

Join Newshub at 4:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Hurricanes v Chiefs Super Rugby Pacific semi