This evening, the Chiefs family joined together to celebrate the 2017 season and recognize the immense contribution of those who are moving on as well as celebrate the outstanding performances of the season.

The annual awards were shared between seven players, reflecting the fantastic contributions across the whole team.

The 2017 award winners are:

University of Waikato Development Taua Player Award: Luteru Laulala

Generation Homes Under 20’s Player Award: Luke Jacobson

Rookie of the year: Solomon Alaimalo

Fans Player of the Year: James Lowe

Coaches Player of the Year: Damian McKenzie

Players Player of the Year: Brodie Retallick

Chiefs Mana Kotiate: Liam Messam

For only the second time in Chiefs history in a fitting tribute, head coach Dave Rennie was awarded the Chiefs Tohunga lifetime award.

This Saturday, the Gallagher Chiefs will play their last home game of the regular season against Australian conference winners the Brumbies at FMG Stadium Waikato.  The game kicks off at 5:15pm. Tickets are available online here. 

The British & Irish Lions have proven too strong for the Gallagher Chiefs, running away with a 34-6 win in an historic first ever meeting between the two sides at FMG Stadium Waikato.

With several All Blacks and other front line players unavailable, the Gallagher Chiefs depth was tested and, although able to match the Lions for large parts of a physical match, some of their best running rugby on the tour so far saw the Lions push on to claim an impressive victory.

The momentous occasion, in front of a whopping crowd of 29,974, was proceeded by the Gallagher Chiefs haka which kicked the already electric atmosphere up another gear and set the scene for a wonderful sporting occasion.

Early signs were good from the home side with captain Stephen Donald producing some long and accurate kicks for good field position. But errors at lineout time, which would prove to be a theme throughout the evening, cost the Gallagher Chiefs the chance to open the scoring.

The Lions responded with a strong period on attack but some aggressive defence from a fired up Gallagher Chiefs unit put a stop to that, with a penalty from Welsh first five Dan Biggar the only scoring in the opening 10 minutes.

A late shoulder charge from Lions prop Joe Marler then resulted in a yellow card but the Gallagher Chiefs were unable to take advantage, with the Lions working downfield and coming away with a second Biggar penalty.

At the 20-minute mark the Gallagher Chiefs finally got themselves on the scoreboard with Donald’s first shot at goal a successful penalty from right in front of the posts.

It didn’t take long for the Lions to reassert their dominance as a patient build up saw them eventually crack the Gallagher Chiefs defence with wing Jack Nowell jumping over a ruck close to the line for the first try.

Biggar added the extras to push the advantage out to 13-3, with the Lions continuing to threaten following the Nowell try, even turning down a shot at goal to go for more points, but this time the Gallagher Chiefs defence was up the task.

Towards the end of the first half a late flurry of attack from the Gallagher Chiefs was rewarded with a second Donald penalty, and the hosts would have been happy to head into the break trailing by just seven.

The Gallagher Chiefs came out from the halftime break fired up and enjoyed the better of the first 10 minutes with some more big hits on defence and breaks up field getting the home crowd excited.

Eventually the big Lions forwards rumbled their way back towards the Gallagher Chiefs line and, despite more good defence stopping wave after wave of attack, referee Jerome Garces finally lost his patience and awarded a penalty try and a yellow card to loose forward Mitchell Brown.

A strong period from the Gallagher Chiefs then ended in a try at the other end to effectively finish off the contest. It was another poor lineout which cost the Gallagher Chiefs, as the tourists snaffled possession and went the length of the field with Nowell finishing off for his second and arguably the Lions’ best try of the tour.

Looking to work their way back into the contest, the Gallagher Chiefs threw caution to the wind as they looked to attack from their own 22 but a kick return from near halfway ended in nicely worked try to centre Jared Payne. Biggar maintained his perfect record off the tee to blow the lead out to 34-6 with still quarter of an hour to play.

To their credit the Gallagher Chiefs kept fighting, and some fresh legs off the bench gave some brief moments of attacking brilliance, but they were unable to break down the Lions defence as the visitors came away from their trip to Hamilton with a convincing win.

Gallagher Chiefs 6 (Stephen Donald 2 pens) British & Irish Lions 34 (Jack Nowell 2, Jared Payne tries, penalty try; Dan Biggar 3 cons, 2 pens) HT: 6-13.

The Gallagher Chiefs now shift their focus to the remainder of the Super Rugby season which is set to resume after international break on Saturday 15 July with a home game against the Brumbies at FMG Stadium Waikato (kick off 5.15pm).

One year on from his heroic performance at the helm against Wales, Gallagher Chiefs centurion Stephen Donald will lead a determined team into battle against the British & Irish Lions. Thirty thousand rugby fans will descend on FMG Stadium Waikato this Tuesday evening to witness history being made when the Gallagher Chiefs play the International side for the first time.

The British & Irish Lions were in formidable form on Saturday night, recording a convincing 32-10 win over the Maori All Blacks in their fifth match of the Series to date. The victory showcased the visiting teams potential and undoubtedly engendered confidence in the side as they embark on the second half of their New Zealand tour.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has named a hard-working team to meet the impending British & Irish Lions attack head on this Tuesday evening. With a number of regular starters unavailable due to International commitments, the match presents a thrilling opportunity for the squad’s young and ambitious players to impress. Two such players are Counties Manukau back Luteru Laulala and Chase Tiatia from Bay of Plenty, who are in line to make their debuts for the Gallagher Chiefs off the bench.

The Gallagher Chiefs team to play the British & Irish Lions on Tuesday at FMG Stadium Waikato:
1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (24)
2. Liam Polwart (2)
3. Nepo Laulala (11)
4. Dominic Bird (25)
5. Michael Allardice (20)
6. Mitchell Brown (14)
7. Lachlan Boshier (15)
8. Tom Sanders (19)
9. Finlay Christie (6)
10. Stephen Donald (100)
11. Solomon Alaimalo (6)
12. Johnny Faauli (5)
13. Tim Nanai-Williams (82)
14. Toni Pulu (21)
15. Shaun Stevenson (21) RESERVES:

16. Hika Elliot (116)
17. Aidan Ross (2)
18. Atu Moli (24)
19. Liam Messam (159)
20. Mitchell Karpik (5)
21. Jonathan Taumateine (6)
22. Luteru Laulala*
23. Chase Tiatia*

() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
*denotes Chiefs debut

You can watch the full live stream here

In one of their best performances of the season the Gallagher Chiefs have come away from Westpac Stadium in Wellington with a pulsating 17-14 win over the Hurricanes.

In a breathtaking game of running rugby, befitting two of the best teams in the competition, the Gallagher Chiefs hung on in the final stages for a crucial away win that brings them to within a point of the Hurricanes with one round remaining.

A fast start from the home side saw them swing onto attack early and after several minutes of relentless pressure they cracked the Gallagher Chiefs’ defence with lock Vaea Fifita crashing over the line for an early lead.

Shortly after the restart the Gallagher Chiefs got their hands on the ball and moved down the left wing with James Lowe popping a nice pass to Anton Lienert-Brown who went desperately close to scoring but lost the ball in the tackle just short of the line.

Another promising attack down the left then saw Tawera Kerr-Barlow nearly score but the visitors were denied again by good scrambling Hurricanes defence.

The Hurricanes had the chance to extend their lead at the end of the first quarter of play, but turned down a simple penalty attempt and the Gallagher Chiefs were able to stop them from the resulting lineout.

A superb counter attack saw the Gallagher Chiefs finally get on the scoreboard with Aaron Cruden finishing off a fine team try. Liam Messam started things off, returning a Beauden Barrett kick and finding Solomon Alaimalo in space on the right wing, with Cruden getting over the line after two good offloads infield from Alaimalo and Charlie Ngatai.

The frantic pace of the first half continued with chances at both ends as Cruden nearly got his second of the evening, only to be denied by a great covering tackle from Hurricanes midfielder Vince Aso.

As the exciting first 40 minutes came to a close there was plenty more action but no more scoring to show for the brilliant attacking efforts of both sides, and the teams went into the break tied at 7-7.

A knee injury to Cruden forced a reshuffle to the Gallagher Chiefs backline for the second half with Shaun Stevenson entering the game and Damian McKenzie moving into first five.

The opening stages were a tighter affair compared with the free flowing first half, with neither side really threatening to take the lead outside of a missed penalty attempt from McKenzie.

As the match neared the three quarter mark the Hurricanes slowly gained momentum to test the Gallagher Chiefs defence which was equal to the task, dealing with everything the home side could throw at them.

10 metres from their own line the Gallagher Chiefs then broke clear up the middle of the field with replacement Alex Nankivell finding Lienert-Brown who showed great pace to get inside the Hurricanes 22. But the movement ended badly as a couple of phases later lock Michael Allardice was yellow carded for a reckless ruck clean out.

Despite the one man disadvantage the Gallagher Chiefs launched a decisive attack from a scrum inside their own half. Stevenson produced a big left foot step to split the defence open before accelerating clear and finding Lowe who crossed for the go ahead try.

McKenzie’s conversion hit the upright and went over to give the Gallagher Chiefs a 14-7 lead with 15 minutes remaining, before more pressure from the Hurricanes was absorbed and they were restored to 15 men with no damage done.

A strong kick chase saw the Gallagher Chiefs win a breakdown penalty right in front of the posts and McKenzie made no mistake to nudge the lead out to 10 points.

But an instance response from the Hurricanes saw replacement Wes Goosen score in the right hand corner and Jordie Barrett’s sideline conversion cut the Chiefs’ lead to three and set up a tense final two minutes.

A Hurricanes knock on after the restart put the Gallagher Chiefs in control and they were able to hang on to possession and close out the match to seal four more competition points and a third straight win over the Hurricanes.

Gallagher Chiefs 17 (Aaron Cruden, James Lowe tries; Damian McKenzie 2 cons, pen) Hurricanes 14 (Vaea Fifita, Wes Goosen tries; Jordie Barrett 2 cons) HT: 7-7.

The Gallagher Chiefs now take a five week break from Super Rugby for the international window, with an historic first ever match against the British and Irish Lions just around the corner on Tuesday 20 June at FMG Stadium Waikato (kick off 7.35pm).