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- 22nd Feb 2013
- KO 06:35
- Ground: Forsyth Barr, Dunedin
Craig Clarke delighted as the Chiefs claim victory over the Highlanders
Chiefs captain Craig Clarke praised his "exciting team" after they opened up the new Super Rugby season with a 41-27 victory over the Highlanders.
The defending champions scored tries through Tim Nanai-Williams, Patrick Osborne and Asaeli Tikoirotuma, while Gareth Anscomble slotted over 21 points during an all-action encounter in Dunedin.
And despite admitting there were areas to improve on, Clarke was pleased to leave Dunedin with a bonus-point win.
"Across the board, we'll be a little disappointed to have let in a few tries but we've got a hell of an exciting team hence we scored a few points," he said.
"You can't win a championship by giving points away, though, so we will have to address that."
Although an 'electric' back division stole the show, Clarke was delighted with the way a new-look pack coped.
"It was a fairly big battle in the forwards and we had a couple of young guys in our front row that did well," he added. "It was a pretty good debut for those guys."
The Highlanders had led 27-21 following tries from Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Kade Poki but they just couldn't hold on.
And skipper Gear admitted: "It just got away from us in the end there and all credit to the Chiefs, I think they played really well.
"We probably let ourselves down by trying to force the 50:50 pass when we perhaps should have held on. But those are the lessons that we will learn and will try to move on."