Top of the Table clash set for Sky Stadium
A mid-campaign table-topping DHL Super Rugby Pacific contest between the Hurricanes and Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday offers plenty to savour.
Transferred to an afternoon game, starting at 2.35pm due to lighting issues at SKY Stadium, the game should offer extra appeal to hometown fans. Get your TICKETS HERE for the family friendly kick off time.
The Hurricanes are on their most successful streak of wins, four, since 2020, while the Chiefs go into the game knowing they have won their last three games against the Hurricanes, their best in Super Rugby history.
The Chiefs go into the game with nine consecutive regular season wins, equal to their longest unbeaten run in Super Rugby which was achieved in 2012. They also do well in New Zealand derbies, having won their last three while conceding only points.
In all games between the sides, the Hurricanes have 21 wins, the Chiefs 18 with two drawn.
Hurricanes wing Salesi Rayasi leads the competition with four break-assist offloads, while no Chiefs player has made more than one. Against that, utility Damian McKenzie has made seven break-assist passes and shares the top place with Blues utility Stephen Perofeta.
While the Hurricanes dominate the statistics against the Chiefs, some key details provide some idea of what they can expect.
The Chiefs have the best tackle percentage of 88.6 per cent in the competition compared to 84 per cent for the seventh-placed Hurricanes. The home team has also missed more tackles, 24.3, compared to the Chiefs at 16.5, again the best in the competition.
While the Hurricanes are the best in the competition for turnovers won at 7.1, they have conceded 13.7, making them 11th. The Chiefs have won 5.2 turnovers, eighth overall and conceded 11.7 for fourth.
At lineout time, the Hurricanes have 89 per cent success, second best across all teams, while on 84.6, the Chiefs are ninth. In ruck success, the Hurricanes are also second with 96.2 per cent, while the Chiefs are eighth with 94.8.
In scrums, the Chiefs are second best at 96 per cent, while the Hurricanes are fourth at 94.2.
The Hurricanes have the highest scoring average in the competition at 38.9 per cent per game, while the Chiefs are third at 33.2. The Hurricanes average 5.4 tries a game, again the best this season, while the Chiefs are third again on 4.5. They are also best in offloads with 13.4, while the Chiefs have 7.2 in 11th place.
The Chiefs also kick more. They lead the competition in kicks from hand with 26.5, while the Hurricanes are sixth with 23.6.
Jordie Barrett has scored 66 points for the Hurricanes with a goal-kicking success of 77.1, while McKenzie has scored 53 for the Chiefs at 70 per cent. Shaun Stevenson shares the try-scoring lead with seven tries this season, along with Jordan Petaia (Reds) and Leicester Fainga'anuku (Crusaders). Salesi Rayasi has scored six tries for the Hurricanes.
Halfback Jamie Booth is second in the competition for try assists with 2.6, while McKenzie and Rameka Poihipi have 0.8 each to share seventh place.
Elsewhere in round eight, Moana Pasifika play their historic first game in Samoa when they face the Queensland Reds at Apia Park on Friday. Tune into the action live on Sky Sport with kick off at 4.05pm NZT.
The high-flying ACT Brumbies host the Fijian Drua at 9.35pm NZT on Friday night in what promises to be a high-octane encounter.
Saturday kicks off with the blockbuster Hurricanes v Chiefs clash at Sky Stadium at 2.35pm.
It’s an all-Australian clash later on Saturday night when the Waratahs host the Force at Allianz Stadium at 9.35pm NZT. Both teams sit outside the top eight and need a win to avoid falling too far behind the pack.
The Blues, Melbourne Rebels, Crusaders and Highlanders all have a bye this week.