The Chiefs have shut out a late-charging Highlanders side 26-16 in the super rugby opener in Queenstown this afternoon.
Waikato looked to be running away with the game, in front 23-9 with just over 10 minutes left in the game, until Daniel Lienert-Brown put a cat amongst the pigeons for the Highlanders with a converted try to close it up to 23-16.
But a Chiefs penalty with under five minutes on the clock undid the Southern men, handing Waikato the win.
The Chiefs' Sam Cane grabbed the first try of the new super rugby season just after the quarter-hour mark, after the Highlanders had nudged ahead 6-3 on penalties.
Sam Cane with our first try of 2022 🔥— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) February 19, 2022
Watch all the action live on Sky Sport now
🎥 Sky Sport pic.twitter.com/2uG6hQ8USz
Right before the half-time break a spectacular leap over a Highlanders defender saw Chiefs no.8 Pita Gus Sowakula score in the corner for an 18-6 lead going into the second half.
Waikato scored a third try after the restart to fullback Emon Narawa off a no-look, behind the back, pass from Brodie Retallick for a 23-9 lead.
Despite their last-ditch efforts, the Highlanders could not do enough to wrestle the win away from the Chiefs.