Chiefs make it seven-in-a-row
April 21, 2012
The Chiefs' Sonny Bill Williams delivers a trademark off load during his side's victory over The Sharks in Durban © Getty Images
The Chiefs cemented their place at the top of the Super Rugby standings with a hard-fought 18-12 victory over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden weighed in with a try, a conversion and two penalties as the visitors notched their seventh straight win of the campaign and completed their tour of South Africa unbeaten following a success against the Cheetahs last weekend. The Sharks trailed throughout with Patrick Lambie's three penalties bringing them to within a point late in the second half only for a try from the Chiefs' Augustine Pulu to put the result beyond doubt.
The Stormers wasted little time in returning to winning ways with a 23-13 win over the Reds on Friday evening. The South African based franchise fell to the Crusaders last weekend but overcame last season's champions with ease. The Stormers went into the break 17-3 ahead thanks to tries from Gio Aplon and Peter Grant. The Reds rallied in the second 40 with skipper James Horwill crossing but it proved to be in vain.
The Brumbies lead the Australia conference despite slipping to a 36-34 to the Bulls in Pretoria. Jake White's side outscored the three-time champions five tries to two - with Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg, Andrew Smith, Ian Prior and Anthony Hegarty all crossing - but had to settle for two bonus points. The prolific Bjorn Basson and CJ Stander touched down for the Bulls but it was fly-half Morne Steyn who kept the Brumbies at bay with a 26-point haul.
The Crusaders' Dan Carter celebrated his 100th Super Rugby appearance with a try as his side over-powered the Hurricanes 42-14 on their own patch on Saturday. Fullback Israel Dagg also grabbed a brace as the Crusaders breathed some much-needed life into their campaign and leap-frog the 'Canes in the New Zealand conference. "It is great fun playing footie when the boys start like that," commented Crusaders captain Kieran Read.
Elsewhere, the Waratahs made it back-to-back victories with a 30-21 win against the Rebels in Sydney. Bernard Foley got the hosts on their way with a first minute score with Tatafu Polota-Nau and Rob Horne following him over the whitewash. The Rebels rallied with tries from Ged Robinson, Tim Davidson and Lachlan Mitchell but they could not deny their rivals a victory that lifts them top of the Australian conference.
In Friday's other clash, the Highlanders piled more misery on the beleaguered Blues. But credit to the visitors, they pushed the Highlanders all the way eventually losing out 30-27. The home side's Mike Delany was the star of the show with 20 points from the boot with their tries coming from Shaun Treeby and Kurt Baker. The Blues' scores were thanks to Hadleigh Parkes and Rene Ranger.
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