Super Rugby

Second-half spiral costs Waratahs in Dunedin

That’s how long it’s been since an Australian team won in New Zealand, as the Waratahs became the latest team felled across the Tasman, going down 44-28 to the Highlanders. 

A year to the day since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs, the last Australian victory over a Kiwi team anywhere in the world, they looked to have remedied their sluggish starts with a half-time lead, but were unravelled in the second half by recklessness as much as anything else.

Chiefs and Blues draw

Friday's result, the first draw between the two sides, would not have satisfied either team.

The Chiefs needed a win to stay in touch with the competition-leading Crusaders after last week's 31-24 loss in Suva, while the Blues were desperate to end their miserable 0-5 record in New Zealand conference matches.

The Chiefs looked solid to begin with, building early phases despite steady drizzle, but struggled on their own lineout throw and were let down by poor handling as the game progressed.

Dagg back as Crusaders ring changes

He's been named on the wing for Saturday's clash with the Rebels in Melbourne.

The outside back played a half game of club rugby a fortnight ago and declared himself fit to play for the Crusaders, but he was left out of last weekend's win over the Chiefs in Suva.

Dagg hasn't played Super Rugby since March after injuring his knee against the Reds and now has two games to prove his match fitness before the All Blacks first test of the year against Samoa.

Piers Francis cleared to play against the Chiefs

Francis suffered a head knock playing against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

Blues doctor Dr Stephen Kara confirmed that Francis had not developed any further symptoms in a range of regular testing under the protocol since including a full neurological exam and neuro-cognitive testing via SCAT scan. He further tested clear after a return to training and completed the other graduated protocol steps to play with no recurrence of any symptoms.

Tahs keep playoff hopes alive

Waratahs fullback Israel Folau was back to his dominant best, scoring a try in each half, with Nick Phipps, Dean Mumm, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Damien Fitzpatrick and Bryce Hegarty also crossing for the home side.

Replacement back Jonah Placid scored a brace of tries in the second half for the Rebels, who battled hard but were over-run in the final quarter and slumped to a ninth loss of the season.

Hurricanes rack up 61 points in win over Cheetahs

Teaming up with midfield accomplice Ngani Laumape, Aso crossed once in the first half and twice after the break in the nine-try rout at Wellington Regional Stadium, the home side's biggest winning margin over the South Africans.

Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Ben Lam and Leni Apisai also crossed for the Hurricanes, who were back to their enterprising best after being humbled by the competition-leading Canterbury Crusaders last week.

Chiefs' Ngatai suffers fresh headaches

The one-time All Black has only just returned to the field after a year out with concussion symptoms, making his return 11 days ago in the Chiefs' 46-17 win over the Reds in New Plymouth.

But the headaches that plagued the 26-year-old throughout 2016 returned after training, with no apparent cause.

RNZI reports Ngatai will sit out the Chiefs' match against the Crusaders in Fiji, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving over to second-five and Sam McNicol slotting into centre.

Chiefs hoping to match Crusaders power

The Crusaders continued their momentum last weekend with a clinical 20-12 win over the Hurricanes, extending their unbeaten streak to 11 matches.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie acknowledges his side, who are second in the conference, will have to match the red and blacks' power in the set piece on Friday night.

"That's where they destroyed the Canes and traditionally they have always been strong up front with an All Black-ladened tight five to deal to your scrum," he said.

Crusaders continue to set the benchmark

Keeping the defending champions tryless for the first time since 2014, the Crusaders put on a clinic at the set-piece and nabbed the only five-pointer of the game, via openside Matt Todd, off the back of a maul.

They then proceeded to shut out the Hurricanes with frighteningly high line speed in defence, nullifying the potency of Beauden Barrett and company, and through the go-forward of an all-Test tight five.

Late Fekitoa try secures win for Highlanders

Both sides finished with 14 players in conditions that stifled running rugby as the Highlanders extended their winning run to seven matches, while the Bulls' play-off hopes now look ever more remote.

Fullback Matt Faddes scored the opening try for the visitors, who had to play the final 16 minutes a man down after a red card for wing Waisake Naholo for a reckless tackle with the game evenly poised at 10-10.