Cruden leads Chiefs to victory
A strong performance from Aaron Cruden guided the Chiefs to a 34-21 victory over the Lions in the Super 15 at Pukekohe.
The New Zealand fly-half scored the opening try in a personal haul of 19 points as the Chiefs racked up their ninth consecutive win.
The top-of-the-table hosts rested key personnel, but the Lions could not take advantage despite the best efforts of number eight Joshua Strauss. The Chiefs ran in four tries to their opponents' three, two of which came from Cobus Grobbelaar.
Meanwhile, tries from winger Henry Speight and centre Andrew Smith earned the Brumbies a convincing 23-6 win over the Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.
The home team thoroughly deserved the victory as they dominated possession and defended stubbornly when required to claim the four points.
Christian Lealiifano kicked 13 points for the Brumbies, while the visitors' points all came from the boot of Brendan McKibbin.
Sharks fly-half Pat Lambie further enhanced his growing reputation as he scored all of his side's points in a crucial home win over the Highlanders in Durban.
The 21-year-old South Africa international scored the Sharks' only try on the hour while also kicking over 23 points to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Highlanders, who started the round in the wild card places, had taken a 16-15 second-half lead following a Kurt Baker try but Lambie's class then settled an error-strewn contest.
The Cheetahs kept their slim Super 15 finals hopes alive with a scrappy 17-13 win over the Western Force in Bloemfontein. Skipper Adriaan Strauss scored the home side's only try on 53 minutes and, despite some attritional rugby, they held on to the lead to claim a fourth win of the season.