Chiefs get off to winning start
Centre Tim Nanai-Williams scored two brilliant tries and full-back Gareth Anscombe kicked 21 points as the Chiefs began their defence of the Super 15 title with a 41-27 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Anscombe was successful with eight kicks from nine attempts and Nanai-Williams, usually a full-back, made his mark in midfield as the Chiefs took maximum points from their first game.
Both teams were without several leading players; Andrew Hore, Brad Thorn, Tamati Ellison and Colin Slade for the Highlanders and Richard Kahui, Robbie Robinson, Hika Elliot, Brendon Leonard and Andrew Horrell for the Chiefs.
The Brumbies showed they could be a force in Super Rugby this season with an impressive 30-13 victory over the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne. They did not have it all their own way against the Rebels, though, with Jake White's side having to overturn a half-time deficit in order to remain unbeaten in 2013.
After Jesse Mogg had given the Brumbies an early lead with a fantastic individual try, the Rebels scored 13 consecutive points, with Scott Higginbotham crossing, to open up a six-point lead on the stroke of half-time.
But Clyde Rathbone scored late in the opening half to trim the deficit before some accurate kicking from Christian Lealiifano and late tries from Ben Mowen and Robbie Coleman sealed the bonus-point triumph.
Morne Steyn enjoyed a superb night with the boot as the Bulls began their campaign with a 25-17 victory over South African rivals the Stormers in Pretoria.
Steyn successfully slotted over all six of his penalties as well as converting Chiliboy Ralepelle's 66th-minute, try as the Bulls, winners in 2007, 09 and 10, claimed a hard-fought victory at Loftus Versfeld.
Steyn's pinpoint accuracy was in contrast to the efforts of his Stormers counterpart Elton Jantjies who missed all four of his penalty attempts as the Bulls built a 12-0 just after half-time.
That deficit left the visitors with too much to do and although they outscored their hosts two tries to one in the end, captain Jean de Villiers and Andries Bekker crossing in the second half, but they were always playing catch up.