All Blacks star sets up a blinder as a direct result of Super Rugby binning ‘Dupont Law’

Chiefs’ fly-half Damian McKenzie struck the ground running in Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific opening against the Crusaders, setting up a try for Xavier Roe with a brilliant line break in his team’s 33-29 victory in Hamilton.

The big news leading up to this year’s tournament was Super Rugby Pacific’s decision to implement law trials, which closes the loophole known as the ‘Dupont Law’ in an effort to eliminate tiresome kicking wars and promote more running in the game.

That certainly paid off for the Chiefs midway through the first half, when McKenzie fielded a kick inside his 22 and lit up the game in the way only he can.

After gathering the ball, the All Blacks star went on a mazy run, beating four players before passing to Shaun Stevenson on the halfway line. Rivez Reihana halted Stevenson’s advance on the Crusaders’ 22, but he managed to send a pass out to Roe, who strolled in for his five-pointer beneath the posts.

All Blacks XV: Damian McKenzie stars as tourists ease past Ireland 'A' :  PlanetRugby

McKenzie added the extras, which meant the Chiefs were leading 17-3 after he had traded penalties with Reihana earlier, and Kaylum Boshier crossed for a converted try.

The Crusaders struck back in the 23rd minute when Sevu Reece crossed for the Crusaders’ opening try, but the home side would finish the half stronger courtesy of another try from Etene Nanai-Seturo, which Stevenson converted and another three-pointer off the kicking tee from McKenzie, which meant the Chiefs held a 27-10 lead at the interval.

That penalty would be McKenzie’s last act of the match as he was forced off the field with a leg injury at half-time, with Josh Ioane coming on to replace him.

The Crusaders had a better start to the second half, closing the margin to five points with to touchdowns from Chay Fihaki and their captain, Scott Barrett, with Reihana adding one conversion.

The visitors continued to dominate, and in the 68th minute, Fihaki scored his second try, and Taha Kemara converted, putting Super Rugby Pacific’s defending champions ahead for the first time in the match.

Despite this, the Chiefs did not panic in the last stages of the game, and Ioane held his nerve to slot two penalties, sealing the victory.

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