| 11.6°C Belfast

High-flying Chiefs edge out Sharks in close contest

Close

New Zealand international Aaron Cruden was influential in the Chiefs' win over the Sharks

New Zealand international Aaron Cruden was influential in the Chiefs' win over the Sharks

New Zealand international Aaron Cruden was influential in the Chiefs' win over the Sharks

Super Rugby title contenders the Chiefs extended their advantage as New Zealand conference leaders with a hard-fought 24-22 victory against South African challengers the Sharks in New Plymouth.

Fly-half Aaron Cruden's goalkicking proved decisive - he booted four penalties and a conversion - while centre Seta Tamanivalu scored a try in the first minute for the Chiefs and Japan World Cup captain Michael Leitch also touched down.

But the Sharks kept battling, claiming tries from Kyle Cooper, Garth April and Chiliboy Ralepelle - April also kicked two conversions and a penalty - yet they ultimately had to settle for just a losing bonus point.