The Chiefs have tasted both the highs and lows of Southern Hemisphere club competition, ever since becoming one of the founding franchises of Super 12 in 1996. In one of the toughest proving-grounds in sport, they have emerged as a leading name in world rugby, competing with distinction against national and representative sides as well as the big hitters of South Africa and Australia. To succeed as a force in Super Rugby, you need power to win the battle up front, an attacking edge throughout the team, and a streak of creative, play-making genius – and the Chiefs have it all. Come and see for yourself: find your next Chiefs Tickets here on StubHub!
The Chiefs - stars of New Zealand rugby
Instantly recognisable by their patterned jerseys and the emblem of the Maori chief holding his palu club, the Chiefs are worthy standard bearers for New Zealand in Super Rugby and beyond. Regularly attracting big, vocal crowds to the Waikato Stadium, they have a knowledgeable fan base who appreciate quality performances – and usually get them. Representing rugby heartlands like Bay of Plenty and Waikato comes with huge grassroots talent, but also a high level of expectation.
A sequence of winning seasons in the 2000s was crowned by a finals appearance in 2009 but then followed by a slump, only for the team to return in 2012 with a win over the Sharks in the Grand Final. Those years saw the Chiefs bring through a huge number of talented players including flanker Liam Messam – who set an appearance record for the club – alongside towering figures such as Mils Muliaina. However, it was the overhaul of players in 2011/12 that paved the way for further success, as the franchise brought in the likes of the rampaging lock Brodie Retallick and fly-half Aaron Cruden.
Famous encounters for the Chiefs
Winning the 2013 Grand Final was made all the sweeter for Chiefs by their semi-final win over Crusaders, edging their rivals by the narrowest margin. The clash with the Brumbies was similarly close. A magnificent performance by Christian Lealiifano – including a one-handed gather and breakaway for a try, and all his side’s points from the tee – seemed to have taken the game away from the Chiefs. But, just as the All Blacks so often do, Chiefs hit their opponents with two quick tries that were enough to seal a win.
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