Rugby-Blues, Chiefs join Crusaders in Super Rugby semis

but it's great that we finally expressed ourselves and got used to playing our game again." Earlier, Chiefs skipper Brad Weber had the cowbells ringing early at Waikato Stadium as he scored the first of his two tries in the sixth minute against the Waratahs. Two more tries from flanker Luke Jacobson and centre Alex Nankivell had the Chiefs 27-10 ahead at halftime and Weber and number eight Pita Gus Sowakula crossed in the final quarter to snuff out any chance of a comeback from the visitors.


Reuters | Updated: 04-06-2022 15:33 IST | Created: 04-06-2022 14:52 IST
Rugby-Blues, Chiefs join Crusaders in Super Rugby semis
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The Auckland Blues overcame a gallant Otago Highlanders effort 35-6 at Eden Park on Saturday to win their 14th straight match and join the Waikato Chiefs and Canterbury Crusaders in the Super Rugby semi-finals.

The Chiefs earlier beat an error-prone New South Wales Waratahs side 39-15 in Hamilton to set up a trip next week to Christchurch to face the Crusaders, who downed the Queensland Reds 37-15 on Friday. The top-seeded Blues will host the winners of Saturday's final quarter-final in Canberra between the ACT Brumbies, the last Australian side in the competition, and the Wellington Hurricanes.

Despite losing hooker Andrew Makalio to a red card for a no-arms tackle in the 22nd minute, the Highlanders managed to keep the Blues at bay for the first half an hour of the contest, taking a 6-0 lead through two Marty Banks penalties. Flanker Akira Ioane stormed over the line to get the Blues on the scoreboard in the 31st minute and soon afterward a bit of magic from All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett for a second converted try had the home side 14-6 ahead.

Barrett scored his second eight minutes into the second half after slick interplay between the Blues' backline and replacement winger AJ Lam and centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck also crossed as the Highlanders ran out of gas. "You can never get comfortable against the 'Landers, they are a side that always fights for the full 80," said Barrett.

"We took a bit of time to find our groove ... but it's great that we finally expressed ourselves and got used to playing our game again." Earlier, Chiefs skipper Brad Weber had the cowbells ringing early at Waikato Stadium as he scored the first of his two tries in the sixth minute against the Waratahs.

Two more tries from flanker Luke Jacobson and centre Alex Nankivell had the Chiefs 27-10 ahead at halftime and Weber and number eight Pita Gus Sowakula crossed in the final quarter to snuff out any chance of a comeback from the visitors. The Waratahs, who lost all 13 games last season, had crossed the Tasman Sea from Sydney determined to continue their resurgence under new coach Darren Coleman.

They scored tries early in each half through winger Dylan Pietsch and number eight Will Harris but a rash of handling errors at key moments robbed them of the opportunity to chase the game. "Everyone's proud of our season given how far we've come," said Coleman. "We're at base camp and we want to get to Mount Everest next year."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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