CHIEFS 27 d. SUNWOLVES 20 @ Waikato Stadium
The Sunwolves produced one of the grittiest performances of their short Super Rugby history to go down to the hotshot Chiefs by just seven points in Hamilton. The Chiefs scored three first-half tries to lead 20-3, but former Highlanders halfback Fumiaki Tanaka and Kiwi centre Derek Carpenter scored for the unfancied tourists either side of Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie’s second try. The Sunwolves inched closer with a penalty goal and the Chiefs were forced to grimly hang on to close out an unexpectedly narrow win.
WARATAHS 29 d. REDS 26 @ Suncorp Stadium
The hapless Reds found new ways to plucky defeat from the jaws of victory, succumbing to Bernard Foley’s goalkicking prowess as the equally-desperate Waratahs stole a fiery Australian derby thriller in Brisbane. Reds fullback Karmichael Hunt starred in the first half with a try and an assist, before Quade Cooper brilliantly set up a long-range try finished off by winger Iazaia Perese. But Michael Hooper landed a crucial blow just before halftime, running away for a try to cut the halftime deficit to just two points. Foley edged the Waratahs in front just after the break, but the Reds grabbed a 26-20 lead in the 50th minute as Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore scored from a rolling maul. The Reds could only watch on forlornly, however, as Foley landed three unanswered penalties, including the match-winner with two and a half minutes on the clock.
LIONS 24 d. FORCE 15 @ nib Stadium
South African heavyweights the Lions got away with a 24-15 win over the lowly Force in Perth. The tourists scored the only two tries of the first half, but Kyle Godwin’s boot kept the Force in the contest and they trailed by just two points with 15 minutes left after his fifth penalty goal. The result was not sealed until Elton Jantjies sliced through for the Lions three minutes after the fulltime hooter.
CRUSADERS 48 d. CHEETAHS 14 @ Free State Stadium
The Crusaders stayed unbeaten via an emphatic seven-tries-to-two win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The home side trailed by just one point with seven minutes of the first half remaining, but two tries to Crusaders winger George Bridge pushed the visitors out to a 22-7 halftime lead and broke the Cheetahs’ spirit. Bridge finished with a hat-trick and fullback David Havili notched a double as the Crusaders went on with the job in the second half.
KINGS 44 d. REBELS 3 @ Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
After an upset win over the Brumbies and an unlikely draw in Durban in their last two outings, the Rebels sunk to arguably the lowest point in their Super Rugby history via a 41-point loss to South African bottom-feeders the Kings. Chalking up their biggest-ever win, the Port Elizabeth outfit scored six tries to turn an 11-3 halftime lead into a 44-3 rout.
SHARKS 33 d. JAGUARES 25 @ Velez Sarsfield
The Sharks landed a crucial blow in the race for the Super Rugby finals, while the Jaguares suffered a mortal wound to their hopes of a maiden playoffs berth as the visitors pulled off a 33-25 win in Buenos Aries. Both teams scored three tries apiece and the scores were level at 20-all at halftime, but Curwin Bosch’s 18-point haul with the boot proved crucial for the victorious Sharks.