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Super Rugby: Chiefs punish 14-man Blues to secure NZ conference
- Crusaders clinch home play-off
- Last-gasp Rebels win thriller
- Reds seal play-off showdown
- Force rain on Brumbies parade
- Rampant Sharks devour Kings
The Chiefs ran in four tries as they condemned the Blues to a 26-16 defeat in Auckland to secure their place at the top of the Super Rugby table.
A Ben Tameifuna brace combined with tries from Bundee Aki and Hika Elliot saw the Chiefs hold out against a spirited 14-man Blues to claim the New Zealand conference title and maintain top spot in the overall standings.
The Blues struck first through boot of Baden Kerr when the visitors were penalised for having hands in the ruck. Moments later the hosts infringed at the breakdown and Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden restored parity with ease.
Dave Rennie's Chiefs soon their stride to stretch the Blues defence before Aki found his way through to touch down the first try of the match in the corner.
Referee Chris Pollock provided the main talking point midway through the first half when he showed Blues flanker Kane Barrett a red card after replays appeared to show his boot making contact with heads in the ruck.
Despite being reduced to 14 men, Sir John Kirwan's side continued to press and regained the lead when Kerr's grubber was chased down Charles Piutau who crossed for the first Blues try of the night.
The Chiefs made good use of their man advantage when Elliot drove over the line off the back of a maul before Kerr levelled the scores once again just before the break.
Kirwan's Blues returned from the interval with intent and applied good pressure on the Chiefs defence to earn a penalty which Kerr duly converted into three points to regain the lead for the hosts.
However, Kerr found himself on the wrong side of a penalty moments later when he was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock down, leaving the Blues with 13 men on the field.
Chiefs prop Tameifuna ensured the visitors made took full advantage of the opposition's deficiency as he stretched over his head to touch down his fifth try of the season to recapture the lead.
The 21-year-old charged over again ten minutes later to add a bonus point try for the Chiefs as they attempted to take the game out of the Blues reach.
Both sides continued to create chances but it was ultimately the Chiefs who conquered as replacement fly-half Gareth Anscombe successfully dissected the posts to seal victory for the Waikato-based franchise.
The bonus-point win gives the Chiefs a three-point advantage over the Bulls at the summit and confirms a home semi-final while the Pretoria side had to settle for second place after losing to the Stormers in their final game.
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|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:30||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:00||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com