The Crusaders extended their winning run to 10 Super Rugby matches on Saturday, as the Waratahs remained just ahead of the Rebels in the Australian Conference.
Ladder leaders Crusaders consolidated their place at the top of the ultra-competitive New Zealand Conference with a fine 34-20 victory at the Chiefs.
The Chiefs were in front in an entertaining clash when Sean Wainui and Luke Jacobson cancelled out Heiden Bedwell-Curtis’ opener, but Matt Todd and George Bridge crossed to put the visitors in control.
Although Jacobson scored a second try, Damian McKenzie’s failure to match Richie Mo’unga’s consistency with his boot meant the Chiefs were chasing the game even before Luke Romano’s late effort.
— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) June 2, 2018
Elsewhere, a knee injury to Jordan Uelese dampened the Rebels’ impressive 20-10 defeat of the Blues at Eden Park.
The Rebels became the first Australian side to triumph in New Zealand in Super Rugby since 2015, but the victory came at a cost as Wallabies hooker Uelese was injured in a tackle on Akira Ioane just 10 minutes after arriving as a substitute.
His team-mates had already completed the scoring, pulling out of sight after a tight first half in which tries from Billy Meakes and Dane Haylett-Petty – either side of Terrence Hepetema’s effort – secured a narrow lead.
Meakes went over again after the break and the Blues failed to add to their score, but the visitors’ – and Michael Cheika – will now be concerned by Uelese’s condition.
-Equal club-highest number of wins in a Super Rugby season
Top of Australian Conference (for now)
2nd ever win in NZ
— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) June 2, 2018
The Rebels had climbed to the summit of the Australian Conference with their win, but the Waratahs reclaimed top spot by a point after a thrilling 52-41 success at the Reds.
Israel Folau scored twice for the Waratahs, who also saw Curtis Rona, Michael Wells, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Nick Phipps, Jake Gordon and Cameron Clark cross in a superb attacking display.
The Reds managed to stay in the game for long periods, too, though, going over seven times themselves, but ultimately they came up just short.
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