The Chiefs took the overall lead in Super Rugby without playing in its eighth round as former leaders ACT Brumbies were held to a draw at home by the Southern Kings in a weekend of close matches.
The Wellington-based Hurricanes’ 12-point win over the New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday was the largest of the round, but that could also have been much closer had the Waratahs not been narrowly denied their fourth try – the eighth of the game – in the final minute.
The other winning margins in the eighth round were 11 points for the Auckland-based Blues over the Highlanders, seven points for the Melbourne Rebels over the Western Force, four points for the Sharks over the Crusaders, and two points for the Cheetahs over the Stormers.
The Chiefs took four points for their bye in the eighth round, joining the Brumbies on 29 points atop the championship table and taking the lead only on points difference.
The tournament standings closed up with the tight matches, and only seven points separate the first-placed Chiefs from the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs in sixth place.