Wednesday 21 February 2018 / 08:41 AM


CRUSADERS 31 d. CHIEFS 24 @ ANZ Stadium, Suva

The Crusaders passed yet another gruelling test to go 12-0, subduing fellow contenders the Chiefs in Fiji. The Chiefs led 17-13 at halftime after tries to Tim Nanai-Wiliams, James Lowe and Kane Hames, with Hamish Bedwell-Curtis scoring the Crusaders’ only five-pointer of the opening 40. But the competition leaders dominated the second half, with tries to David Havili and Ben Funnell – along with the trusty boot of Richie Mo’unga, who kicked 16 points – steering the Crusaders to victory.

STORMERS 30 d. BLUES 22 @ Newlands

The Blues’ winning streak came to an end in Cape Town, despite the visitors building a 12-3 lead through tries to George Moala and James Parsons after Eben Etzebeth earned a yellow card. The Stormers scored a crucial try after the halftime hooter, but Blake Gibson pushed the Blues back out to 19-10 just after the break. But the Stormers dominated from that point, scoring two tries and kicking two penalties – including a match-sealing five-pointer soon after Matt Duffie was red-carded for his second sin-binning offence in the 68th minute.

HURRICANES 61 d. CHEETAHS 7 @ Westpac Stadium

The Hurricanes bounced back from their Round 12 loss to the Crusaders by obliterating the Cheetahs nine tries to one in Wellington. The defending Super Rugby champs held a modest 21-7 lead at halftime before scoring six unanswered tries in the second stanza. Vince Aso’s breakout campaign continued with a brilliant hat-trick.

HIGHLANDERS 55 d. FORCE 6 @ nib Stadium

The Highlanders finished off an arduous overseas trip – which featured consecutive get-out-of-jail wins in South Africa – with the biggest win in franchise history, scoring eight tries to none in Perth. The visitors led 17-6 after a hard-fought first half, but the Force’s resolve evaporated in the second half as the Highlanders ran in a succession of long-range tries. Prop Aki Seiluli finished with a memorable double, while Lima Sopoaga made a strong return from injury off the bench.

SHARKS 38 d. SUNWOLVES 17 @ Singapore National Stadium

The Sharks powered to an ultimately comfortable bonus-point win in Singapore, but the final scoreline did not reflect the closeness of their battle with the Sunwolves. The visitors led just 21-17 with five minutes left before they piled on three late tries, fullback Lwazi Mvovo finished with a hat-trick.

LIONS 51 d. BULLS 14 @ Ellis Park

The Lions asserted their dominion over the South African Group, while the Bulls’ dismal campaign continued with a seven-tries-to-two loss in Johannesburg. The home side scored five tries in first half and posted the only two five-pointers of the second half as Ruan Combrinck finished with a hat-trick and Elton Jantjies booted 16 points.

BRUMBIES 19 d. KINGS 10 @ Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The out-of-form Brumbies retained their tenuous lead at the top of the Australian Conference with a vital, grinding win in Port Elizabeth, halting the Kings’ three-match winning streak 19-10. The Kings led 10-5 at the break on the back of a penalty try, but tries to Aiden Toua and Tom Banks – who was yellow-carded in the early minutes – propelled the Brumbies to just their fourth win of the season, and their first over non-Australian opposition.

WARATAHS 50 d. REBELS 23 @ Allianz Stadium

The Waratahs kept their hopes of taking out the Australian Conference alive with a big win over the battling Rebels, nabbing a critical bonus point in an eight-tries-to-three drubbing. The visitors trailed just 29-23 at the hour mark after replacement back Jonah Placid’s second try of the second half, but the Waratahs pile on three late tries to seal a convincing result. Israel Folau earlier scored a double for the victorious hosts.

[YouTube – All Blacks]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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