The Chiefs have turned on some Pacific-style razzle-dazzle in a 45-22 win over the Highlanders in their Super Rugby match in Suva.
In an extraordinary first half, the Chiefs scored six tries to lead 42-0 at halftime before the tables turned.
They conceded four and were held tryless while playing into a blustery wind in the second spell in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Fiji’s ANZ Stadium.
The result leaves both teams with 9-5 win-loss records and sitting third and fourth in the overall standings, with the Chiefs one point ahead courtesy of a bonus point.
Fijian-born All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo, a focal point for much of the build-up, limped off late with a leg injury, which will concern the New Zealand selectors.
Former All Blacks loose forward Liam Messam was the game’s dominant figure, with the 34-year-old turning back the clock as the Chiefs took early control in masterful style.
They were 21-0 up after 14 minutes, setting the tone through a sweeping try to fullback Solomon Alaimalo before Toni Pulu and Karl Tu’inukuafe scored from close range.
Luke Jacobson, Sean Wainui and Pulu crossed before the break, with the last two coming while Highlanders No.8 Luke Whitelock was in the sin bin following a professional foul.
The Highlanders dominated the second half but lacked the clinical execution of the Chiefs.
They created two tries to Teihorangi Walden, while Aki Seiuli and Shannon Frizell also crossed.
Unbeaten in Dunedin this year, the Highlanders may live to regret taking a “home” match to the Pacific as the race for high-ranking play-off berths heats up.