Super Rugby - Kahui back as Chiefs beat Blues, wins for Hurricanes and ACT

Centre Richard Kahui celebrated his first Super Rugby start in 10 months with a try, storming defence and attacking thrust to help the Waikato Chiefs to a 23-16 victory over the Auckland Blues in their Super Rugby clash in Tauranga on Saturday.

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Super Rugby - All Blacks centre Kahui injures shoulder again
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Richard Kahui All Blacks

Kahui, who had his fourth shoulder reconstruction last year and then needed keyhole surgery to clean up scar tissue before the season started, was key in shutting down an attack-minded Auckland backline.

The 27-year-old made his comeback off the bench last week but was given his first start against the young Blues side and did not seem to be concerned with his shoulders, smashing into tackles and running straight and hard the entire game.

His industry was rewarded with a charge-down try in the second half that put the game out of reach for the Blues in an intense encounter.

The Chiefs dominated territory and possession and made three clean line breaks in the first half only to be cut down by the last defender, or to make an error as they tried to make the final pass.

The home side also crossed for two tries, to fullback Gareth Anscombe and winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma, but both were ruled out by the television official when referee Jonathan Kaplan asked for them to be reviewed.

Anscombe managed to slot three first half penalties, while Auckland's Chris Noakes replied with two as the hosts went into the break with a 9-6 lead.

Replacement prop Ben Tameifuna did manage to smash over and emulate his uncle Sona Taumalolo, who became a cult figure at the Hamilton-based team for his ability to burrow over when attacking close to the line, to give the Chiefs a 16-6 lead early in the second half.

Kahui then charged down a Francis Saili clearing kick, raced through and grabbed the ball to score. Anscombe converted both tries.

Auckland winger George Moala crossed for a 78th minute consolation try but it was not enough to stop the Chiefs achieving their fourth successive victory over their northern neighbours.

Hurricanes 46 - 30 Kings

Wellington Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett was prepared to put his side's 46-30 victory over South Africa's Southern Kings behind them on Saturday and target bigger Super Rugby challenges down the road.

The home side notched a bonus point inside the first 40 minutes with four tries then bumbled through the second half and never really put the visitors away until Brad Shields scored his side's fifth try with 15 minutes remaining.

Alapati Leuia then scored an intercept try with eight minutes remaining, while fly-half Beauden Barrett added 16 points from the boot as the Hurricanes recorded their third successive win after dropping their first two games.

"Maybe coming off the bye (last week) some of our skills weren't where we want to be," Hammett told reporters at Wellington Regional Stadium.

"Hopefully we can put that one out of our system and be happy that we scored six tries, got five points in the bag and now we can go away and prepare for next week."

The Hurricanes opened the scoring early when Ben May notched his first Super Rugby try, in his 55th game, when he crossed in the third minute after some effective build-up work by both backs and forwards.

Captain Conrad Smith, scrum-half TJ Perenara and lock Jeremy Thrush, also crossed to ensure the Hurricanes had secured a bonus point, while fly-half Beauden Barrett slotted three conversions and penalty.

The home side, who dominated the forward exchanges in the first half were also their own worst enemies, as they gave away silly errors, which Kings fly-half Demetri Catrakilis punished with three penalties that kept his side within touching distance, while he also converted Stephen Sykes' first half try.

"There was lots of good stuff, getting four tries in that first half," Hammett added. "The four tries were really well constructed."

The match, however, lost all shape after the break with the Hurricanes unable to get any momentum as they dropped the ball and were penalised heavily for silly errors.

"We attempted to do that in the second half but we were just a bit inaccurate.

"Sometimes that happens when you get leads and you feel like that you were right on top of it you don't quite put the screws in.

"At this level unless you're 100 percent on in terms of that intensity then it can happen."

Kings' centre Ronnie Cooke scored a 48th minute try, which Catrakilis converted to drag his side to 29-23.

The match, however, went into a dull arm-wrestle before Shields and Leuia scored to blow out the scoreline.

Replacement hooker Hannes Franklin grabbed the King's third try with less than five minutes remaining, though by then there was no chance of a comeback.

The Hurricanes host the New South Wales Waratahs next Saturday.

Brumbies 23-20 Bulls

Christian Lealiifano kicked a penalty after the full-time hooter to give the ACT Brumbies a 23-20 victory, that moved them back to the top of the point standings, over the Bulls in their Super Rugby clash in Canberra.

Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht had scored a 78th-minute try, which was converted by Morne Steyn to give the South Africans hope of a draw before Lealiifano slotted the long-range penalty after the Bulls had been penalised from the kick-off.

The Brumbies had earlier taken advantage of Morne Mellet being yellow-carded by referee Jonathon White for constantly collapsing the scrum, to stymie the visitors' second half momentum and slot two penalties.

The victory moved them to 27 points on the table.

Last year's champions the Waikato Chiefs had earlier moved to 25 points after they had beaten the Auckland Blues 23-16 in Tauranga.

Much of the first half was played between the 22-metre areas as both sides seemed content to kick for territory and attempt to work off errors inside the opposition half.

The Brumbies forwards surprisingly outmuscled the bigger Bulls pack, allowing their team to make better use of the field position.

Brumbies scrum-half Nic White missed two long-range penalties while inside centre Lealiifano slotted three closer to the posts to give the home side a 9-3 lead. Bulls flyhalf Steyn had slotted a 20th-minute penalty as half time approached.

The Brumbies forwards then began a rolling maul and a series of pick-and-gos to give their side some momentum before fullback Robbie Coleman ran a superb angle from behind the point of attack and scored the only try of the first half, two minutes after the halftime hooter had sounded.

The match opened up more in the second half with Bulls winger Lionel Mapoe losing the ball over the line in the tackle, before Jurgen Visser finished off a well-worked backline move to score his first Super Rugby try in the 48th minute.

Steyn added the conversion then slotted his second penalty of the match four minutes later that brought the visitors to 14-13 and sensing the momentum had shifted.

Bulls loosehead prop Mellett, however, was sinbinned for constantly collapsing the scrum with 17 minutes remaining, which allowed the Brumbies to add two further Lealiifano penalties.

Engelbrecht then finished a counter-attacking movement that had swept from halfway after the Bulls had turned the ball over and Steyn converted from wide out to look like the visitors had earned two points for the draw.

Cheetahs 34-16 Rebels

The Cheetahs won their fourth successive Super Rugby match with a thumping 34-16 victory over the Melbourne Rebels at the Free State Stadium.

The visiting Australian side were still in the game when they trailed 10-6 at halftime, but could not cope with the home side's running and intensity after the break.

The Cheetahs crossed the line five times, to collect a try-scoring bonus point for the first time this season, as they exposed the Rebels out wide, with all of those scores coming from the backs.

The result also continues their dominance over Australian sides in this year's competition after back-to-back wins on the road against the Waratahs and Western Force.

"There were a lot of errors and mistakes, but we are very happy with the win. The guys have been very positive and we are very excited about this year," Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss said in a TV interview.

"It's a great team environment at the moment, but it is a long season and we have a long way to go."

After an error-strewn opening, the Cheetahs were the first to get on the scoreboard when Burton Francis kicked a penalty for the home side on 13 minutes after the Rebels were penalised for offside.

James O'Connor drew the visitors level with a penalty of his own after Cheetahs winger Willie le Roux committed the same offence.

The Melbourne-based side took the lead with another penalty by O'Connor, again for offside, as the rain pelted the players and made ball-handling difficult.

The Cheetahs eventually found continuity in attack just three minutes before the interval.

The Rebels had a scrum on their own 22-yard line, but a careless flick from the base of the set-piece saw the Cheetahs turn over possession.

With the visitors scrambling to get their defensive line in shape, the ball was spread wide and Johann Sadie timed his pass to Hennie Daniller perfectly for the full-back to dive in at the corner.

The Cheetahs extended their lead through Raymond Rhule, who showed great pace to finish after centre Robert Ebersohn set him free with a flick pass after beating two defenders.

The home side were starting to dominate when Strauss collected the loose ball after an up and under and showed great hands to send winger Willie le Roux away for his second try of the season and the Cheetahs' third of the day.

The Rebels' cause was not helped when lock Luke Jones received a yellow card for obstruction on Le Roux with just over 10 minutes to play and the Cheetahs exploited the extra man.

They picked up their bonus-point try just seconds later as Sadie crossed in the corner after more excellent work from Strauss.

He bulldozed his way towards the try line and with the Rebels scrambling, the ball came out to Francis and his long pass was picked up by the winger for the easy score.

Rhule turned provider for the Cheetahs' fifth score, his skip-pass giving winger Ryno Benjamin the opportunity to slide in at the corner as the Rebels defence disintegrated.

The Rebels got a consolation try at the death, Cadeyrn Neville going over the line after sloppy play from the Cheetahs as they spilled a line-out just yards out.

The Rebels forward had the easiest of run-ins as he picked up the loose ball and dived over the line.

"It was a big improvement on last week and for 60 minutes we were in the game. Credit to the Cheetahs, they are a fantastic attacking team and if you give them as much ball as we did, they will punish you," Rebels captain Gareth Delve said.

The Cheetahs provisionally move up to fifth in the standings with 18 points while the Rebels are nine points adrift in 13th with two matches of round seven still to be played.

Stormers 14-19 Crusaders

Canterbury Crusaders dominated territory and possession to inflict a 19-14 defeat on the Stormers in a windy Super Rugby clash at Newlands.

The Crusaders put pressure on the Stormers' set pieces all game, winning six of the home team's lineouts and holding the ascendancy in the scrums.

"We wanted to play territory - they have good goalkickers so we didn't want them to tick the scoreboard over. We wanted to play at their end," Crusaders fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal said in a TV interview after the game.

The Crusaders are fifth in the table with 20 points, seven points behind the Brumbies in first place. The Stormers are 10th.

The Stormers briefly had the upper hand in the first half as they took an 11-0 lead, before the Crusaders began to take control and were in front by two points at the break.

After Joe Pietersen had given the home side the lead via a penalty, Siya Kolisi burrowed over the try line from close range after the Stormers had taken the ball forward from an uncontested lineout.

Pietersen missed the simple conversion, but when he landed another penalty the home team had a healthy advantage.

That prefaced a shift in momentum, though, for the Crusaders responded by dominating the rest of the match.

"After a good start we went to bed - the attitude was not there, the commitment lacked at times. It was one of those days where everybody was just a bit flat," Stormers captain Jean de Villiers said.

"The set piece was misfiring, there were missed tackles and handling errors."

Fullback Tom Marshall sliced the Stormers' defence open with a lung-busting run after Dewaldt Duvenage had kicked aimlessly downfield. The ball found its way to Sam Whitelock, who released loose forward Matt Todd to score.

Bleyendaal began to control the match with his kicking out of hand, keeping the Stormers penned in their own half and under the cosh.

The pressure inevitably led to errors and the home side gifted two penalty opportunities to Bleyendaal before the half was out to hand the visitors the lead.

It was more of the same in the second half, the Crusaders camped in the Stormers' half and only kept at bay by some heroic defending.

The Canterbury team took the ball through 26 phases in one attack, much of that in the Stormers' 22, before the South Africans finally managed to clear the danger.

Stormers frustrations boiled over when number eight Duane Vermeulen tipped Zac Guildford off the ground and over as the winger hung on to him after he had made a tackle. He received a yellow card to add to his side's woes.

Bleyendaal extended the Crusaders' lead from the penalty, but they could not take advantage of their numerical advantage despite spending much of the next 10 minutes in the home 22.

On a rare breakout the Stormers closed the deficit to two points through a Pietersen penalty as they doggedly clung on.

Bleyendaal landed another three points to increase the lead to five again.

Finally the Stormers found their rhythm and it was they who had all the ball in the closing stages. Pietersen turned down three kickable penalties to instead set up the lineout, but the Crusaders' defence showed resilience.

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