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Chiefs back on top of table

The Chiefs moved back to the top of the Super Rugby table with a hard-earned 28-22 victory over the Bulls at Waikato Stadium.

After dealing with a significant amount of pressure from a charging Bulls outfit, who led 16-8 at half-time, the Chiefs were able to play to their at-times unstructured style of rugby to give Liam Messam a win in his record 90th match for the franchise.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders recorded just their second win at Eden Park in 16 years with a 27-20 victory over the Blues. The visitors led by as much as 21 points late in the match before surviving a spirited fightback from the Blues, with props Tevita Mailau and Tony Woodcock crossing for tries in the final 12 minutes.

But it was too little, too late as the Highlanders hung on to clinch a bonus-point win. Fundamental errors in their own 22m area and the failure to secure their own lineout ball cost the Blues dearly in the end.

In Australia, the Reds won a thrilling contest against the Brumbies 13-12 after Zack Holmes missed a penalty kick for the Brumbies after the siren at Canberra Stadium. The win in front of 16,123 fans saw the defending champions keep alive their finals hopes.

Elsewhere, the Western Force finally earned their first win of the post-Richard Graham era but were unconvincing as they edged out the Lions 17-11 in Perth.

The Cheetahs battled back to claim a dramatic Super 15 win over the Waratahs in Bloemfontein. The South African side gave up four first-half tries and had trailed 34-21 early after the break, only to haul themselves to a much-needed win.

And the Sharks withstood a battling second-half fightback to put the pressure on the Stormers in the South African conference following their narrow victory at Kings Park.

The Stormers, who were top of the conference heading into the latest round of fixtures, trailed 25-6 after 44 minutes, with Fred Michalak, Keegan Daniel, Lwazi Mvovo all scoring tries for the Sharks, and Pat Lambie kicking 10 points.

Although Gio Aplon's two converted tries narrowed the gap to just five points with seven minutes to go, the Sharks held on to claim a valuable victory and move within five points of their opponents.

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