The Chiefs came from behind to claim a 28-12 win against the Bulls in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Bulls produced a well-worked game plan through a pressured defence and clever kicks behind the Chiefs line to enter the changing rooms ahead 9-3 at half-time.
But a try from winger Shaun Stevenson kickstarted the comeback for the Chiefs to win with tries from Damian McKenzie and Atu Moli sealing the win.
The victory sees the men from Hamilton go top of the New Zealand Conference jumping the Crusaders who are yet to play, while the Bulls leave the game with nothing despite their heroic first-half efforts.
There were some class acts throughout both teams with some strong performances from Handré Pollard and Rudy Paige while Jamba Ulengo, despite being the casualty in Stevenson’s step to score, was incredible throughout, showing defensive brilliance as well as playing a clever attacking game after looking for work all over the field.
The Chiefs looked bewildered in the first half but the general excellence of McKenzie and Aaron Cruden saw their side through to the win.
They handled the game well in the opening phases as they kicked behind the Chiefs line to turn them and keep the home side under pressure in their home half.
The mercurial Pollard scored the first points after two penalties to get his side an early six-point lead. All Black fly-half Cruden kicked his team’s first points after a three-pointer of his own.
Pollard kicked another penalty perfectly and pushed the lead to six points with the Bulls playing well.
The Chiefs were given penalty after penalty with the home side insisting on going for line instead of taking the points with goal. On the 35th minute the Chiefs went for line again and went wide to run the Bulls defence off their feet but the defensive expertise of Burger Odendaal would give no quarter and stopped the attack in its tracks.