Waratahs break hoodoo to close in on title
THE Waratahs have given themselves a great chance of finishing on top of the Super Rugby ladder, downing champions the Chiefs 33-17 in New Plymouth.
It was the Tahs' fourth win in succession and moved them into second place on the overall standings, just two points behind the Sharks but with a game in hand.
With the competition taking a four-week break to enable Test matches to be played in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the Waratahs hopes of claiming the minor premiership could hinge on their next match, a home derby against arch-rivals the Brumbies on June 28.
The win against the Chiefs broke an eight-match losing streak over four years in New Zealand.
Israel Folau (pictured) scored his 11th try of the season to set a new Super Rugby record for the franchise, while Wallabies hopeful Bernard Foley finished with 20 points after scoring a try and kicking three penalties and three conversions. The Tahs hopes of finishing top were boosted significantly by the shock 21-19 win by the Stormers over the Sharks in Durban.
It was the first away win of the season for the 11th-placed Stormers, a drop goal right on the final siren sealing the points.
CRUSADERS 30 (2 pen tries; J McNicholl try; C Slade 3 pen, 3 con) FORCE 7 (D Haylett try; S Ebersohn con) in Christchurch on Saturday night
REDS 38 (J Schatz 2, C Browning, R Davies, D Shipperley tries; M Harris pen, 4 con; W Genia con) HIGHLANDERS 31 (L Sopoaga, R Buckman, P Osborne, F Tanaka tries; H.Parker pen, 2 con; L Sopoaga 2 con) in Brisbane on Saturday night
WARATAHS 33 (I Folau, D Dennis, B Foley tries; B Foley 3 pen, 3 con; K Beale pen) by CHIEFS 17 (B Aki 2 tries; A Cruden pen, 2 con) in New Plymouth on Saturday night
BLUES 37 (L Visinia, J Kaino, G Moala, P Tuipulotu, pen try; I West 2 pen, 3 con) HURRICANES 24 (F Levave 2, J Savea, A Savea tries; B Barrett 2 con) in Auckland on Saturday night
BRUMBIES 37 (M Toomua 2, P McCabe, S Sio, S Carter, L Power tries; C Lealiifano pen, 2 con) REBELS 10 (S Higginbotham try; J Woodward pen, con) in Canberra on Saturday night
LIONS 32 (A Hollenbach, W Tecklenburg tries; M Boshoff 4 pen, 2 con, 2 drop goals) BULLS 21 (W Smith, J du Plessis tries; J Potgieter 3 pen, con) in Johannesburg on Saturday night
STORMERS 21 (K Coleman 4 pen, D Catrakilis 2 pen, J Taute drop goal) SHARKS 19 (C Reinach try; F Steyn 4 pen, con) in Durban on Saturday night