Damian McKenzie’s last-gasp try has earned the Chiefs a thrilling 15-12 victory over the Blues in New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The All Blacks full back crossed the line with only seconds to go before slotting over the conversion to earn last year’s winless wooden spooners a second win a row after last week’s victory over the Hurricanes.
The Auckland-based Blues had looked set to take the points after Tom Robinson had given his side the lead 18 minutes from time, only for McKenzie to steal the win in the dying seconds at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium.
Auckland had dominated in terms of possession and penalty count throughout the opening 40 minutes but were unable to turn their superiority into a sizeable halftime lead.
It took until the 24th minute for the visitors to register on the scoreboard when Akira Ioane spun clear to take the ball over the line from close range.
The Blues looked set to add to their total on the halfhour mark as Mark Telea burst towards the line, only for Chiefs fullback McKenzie to throw in a try-saving tackle.
That was one of many frustrating passages of play for the Blues, who declined five kickable penalties in the first half but only managed to put seven points on the board by the interval.
The Blues were to rue not taking those opportunities as the Chiefs swung the game in their favour.
McKenzie’s 46th minute penalty was followed by a try from Samisoni Taukei’aho as the home side took the lead for the first time.
But the Blues fought back, with Robinson driving down the touchline to cross the line despite the desperate attentions of Chiefs’ scrumhalf Brad Weber.
Otere Black missed the conversion having failed with a penalty attempt just moments earlier to keep the Chiefs within touching distance while Dalton Papalii was denied a decisive Blues try due to obstruction.
And with time running out McKenzie swooped to seal a thrilling clash, converting his own try to claim victory.