Super Rugby

Chiefs beat Rebels, hopes for finals fade

The win moves the Chiefs onto 14 points from their first four matches but, after missing out on a bonus point, their already slim hopes of a place in the final on 16 June diminished further.

Leichhardt Oval hosted the game after Covid-19 restrictions in Melbourne led to uncertainty over travel between Victoria and New Zealand which saw organisers shift the game from Hamilton to Sydney.

Crusaders confirm Sydney trip to play Rebels for finals push

Crusaders boss Colin Mansbridge on Sunday confirmed the match against the Melbourne-based Rebels would be played at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday (4.35pm NZT).

Victoria's latest Covid-19 enforced lockdown had already forced Sanzaar to relocate two matches – Highlanders v Rebels and Chiefs v Rebels – to Leichhardt Oval in Sydney’s west.

Unlike the first two relocated games, Saturday’s match was scheduled as a home game for the Rebels.

The Crusaders will depart Christchurch on Thursday, and will know exactly what they need to do to crack the final come kickoff.

Advantage Blues as Crusaders slip up

The Crusaders earlier beat the Western Force 29-21 in the opening match of the round but were left ruing a try after the hooter from the visitors that also cost them a bonus point.

The Blues top the standings by a point from the Crusaders with the Hurricanes, who play the ACT Brumbies on Saturday, a further three points back in third. The top two after next week's final round will play off for the title.

Crusaders rest key All Blacks for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash against Western Force

Mo’unga is one of four players who started in last week’s 54-28 thumping of the Waratahs in Wollongong who have been benched or rested for this Friday’s match at Orangetheory Stadium.

In his place has come 21-year-old first-five Fergus Burke, who will start in his first-ever game for the Crusaders.

Mo’unga, who has been the subject of plenty of attention in recent weeks due to his sterling performances in Super Rugby this season, will be joined on the sidelines by two other All Blacks, Sam Whitelock and Sevu Reece, who both started off the bench last week.

Damian McKenzie suspended from Super Rugby

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has ruled McKenzie out for three weeks following his red card for a dangerous tackle on Reds halfback Tate McDermott in the 22nd minute of the Chiefs' 40-34 to the Reds in Townsville on Saturday night.

Any incident of foul play involving contact with the head starts with a potential six week suspension.

McKenzie's guilty plea and judicial record saw the time on the sidelines reduced to three weeks by the committee of Adam Casselden, Mike Mika and Stefan Terblanche.

Highlanders clinical in Rebels defeat

The Rebels, who have yet to win in the competition this season, briefly took an unexpected one point lead early in the second half when George Worth slotted over his penalty from near the halfway line.

But after Uelese was shown the yellow card for kicking the ball away, the Highlanders took control, with a penalty try putting them back in front before tries from Josh Dickson and Jona Nareki effectively clinched the game.

Crusaders extend Waratahs losing record

The loss was the Waratahs' 11th in a row this year and leaves them one defeat short of equaling Melbourne Rebels' record 12-game losing streak for an Australian team in Super Rugby.

Eight different players scored tries for the Crusaders while Richie Mo'unga kicked 14 points as Scott Robertson's side moved back to within a point of the Hurricanes.

The New Zealanders took an early lead through Mitchell Drummond's eighth minute try, but the kicking of Will Harrison kept the Waratahs in touch and the Crusaders were made to work for the win.

Reds capitalise on Chiefs' ill-discipline

New Zealand teams had won all of the first 13 contests in the competition, a streak continued on Saturday with third straight wins over Australian opposition for the Crusaders and Blues.

A rout looked on the cards when the Super Rugby AU champion Reds raced out to a 33-3 halftime lead after Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie had been dismissed for a dangerous tackle in the 22nd minute.

Hurricanes blow away Force

Rayasi's fellow winger Wes Goosen, flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi, hooker Asafo Aumua, centre Ngani Laumape and fullback Jordie Barrett also nabbed tries as the home side ran out convincing bonus-point winners at Maclean Park.

The Perth-based Force raced out to a 6-0 lead on the back of two Domingo Miotti penalties but were outmuscled in the tackle area and made mistakes at crucial moments.

Highlanders move Rebels match to Sydney

The two teams were scheduled to meet in Queenstown on Sunday.

But a Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria this week, and a lockdown announced on Thursday, meant that was no longer possible after the New Zealand government extended their pause on quarantine-free travel from the state.

The Rebels had flown to Sydney on Wednesday, in the hope of then transferring to Queenstown.

But New Zealand's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the team were covered by the travel pause because they were in Melbourne when it came into affect on Tuesday night.