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.

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.

NZ teams go unbeaten in round one of Super Rugby trans-Tasman

Domingo Miotti missed a chance to see the Western Force to a home win over the Chiefs in Perth as they went down 20-19 while Noah Lolesio missed a similar last-gasp chance to earn the ACT Brumbies a draw with the Crusaders in Christchurch, handing the New Zealanders a 31-29 win.

The Blues, meanwhile, pulverised the Melbourne Rebels 50-3.

The trio of New Zealand wins added to Friday's success for the Highlanders, who outmuscled Australian champions Queensland Reds, and the Hurricanes, who beat the New South Wales Waratahs.

McKenzie takes over at No 10 as Chiefs prepare for first Western Force encounter in over four years

Aidan Ross, Lachlan Boshier, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown, Shaun Stevenson and Liam Messam were on hand for the narrow 16-7 win and will all feature this weekend.

Right wing Stevenson will be the only one of the sextet to wear the same jersey as he did on that evening, however.

Prop Ross and openside flanker Boshier were both on the bench in the victory while Lienert-Brown has shifted out one spot from second five to outside centre.

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Crusaders claim 12th title with win over Chiefs

The hosts secured a 12th Super Rugby title, a second in the domestic edition and the fifth in a row.

Winger Sevu Reece and fullback Will Jordan scored tries in the first 16 minutes but thereafter the Crusaders -- reduced to 13 men in the second half with two men in the sin bin -- had to rely on the boot of Richie Mo'unga to keep the Chiefs at bay.

The first five kicked a conversion, three penalties and a drop goal and, just as importantly, banged the ball into the corners to keep the Chiefs in their own half late in the game.

Can the Chiefs overcome history?

The Crusaders won the inaugural edition of the New Zealand competition last season without a final but the big red machine have claimed six of their record 10 Super Rugby titles as hosts, with many of the finals not even close.

The Chiefs have already beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton this year, however, and coach Clayton McMillan said his squad was heading south confident of what would be a major upset.

"On any given day, any team can be beaten, and we have proven that," he said.

Chiefs veteran Liam Messam proud of current team

The 37-year-old Messam wound back the clock on Saturday night, coming off the bench in the 55th minute in the Chiefs’ 39-19 loss to the Blues at Eden Park.

The veteran was called into the squad last Tuesday after it was confirmed Kaylum Boshier, Mitchell Karpik and Simon Parker all had injuries that would sideline them for the rest of the season.

It was Messam’s first appearance for the Chiefs since 2018 and his 180th overall, but he says he doesn’t know if he’ll get to 181.

“I’m not sure,” Messam told Stuff.

Chiefs to cheer on Crusaders

Last night's dramatic win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton leaves the Chiefs second in the competition standings - three points behind the defending champion Crusaders and five points ahead of the Blues.

The Chiefs are looking over their shoulders at the Blues, who face the Crusaders in Christchurch on ANZAC Day.

The Crusaders can secure a home final with victory, but if the Blues win their final round match against the Chiefs at Eden Park will become a virtual semi-final.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan admits he'll be backing the reigning champions tomorrow.

McKenzie shines as Chiefs edge Crusaders

Both teams won golden point matches last week, but last night it was the kicking of Damian McKenzie - both tactically and from the tee - which proved decisive.

He nailed four penalties and two conversions in a faultless performance to edge the Chiefs ahead in a see-sawing second half.

The Crusaders had started strongly, scoring after seven minutes as they built phases and closed in on the line with strong running through the midfield.

Watch Chiefs vs Crusaders on the Big Screen at Suva’s Albert Park

Farid Mohammed, Digicel Fiji CEO, said; “We are delighted to be able to organise the free live screening of the highly anticipated rugby clash on Sky Pacific. A big screen will be erected at Albert Park and rugby fanatics and families are invited to come and soak the live match atmosphere and enjoy Super Rugby.”