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Super Rugby: Chiefs tame Lions to return to top of New Zealand Conference
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- Potent Blues outclass Reds
- Sharks nudge further ahead
- Crusaders cruise past Brumbies
- Waratahs clinch Canes thriller
- Stormers claim first bonus win
- Bulls end losing streak
Defending Super Rugby champions the Chiefs returned to something like their best form with a 38-8 win against the lacklustre Lions in Hamilton.
The Chiefs' first victory in three matches takes them back to the head of the New Zealand Conference.
After recent defeats Chiefs coach Dave Rennie gave his team a shake-up, making nine changes to the team thrashed by the Brumbies in Canberra last week.
The Chiefs led 19-3 at the break and were good value for that margin. Charlie Ngatai caused his opponents some problems early on and went close to scoring, though it was the visitors who took the lead when Elton Jantjies slotted over a penalty after the Chiefs had collapsed a scrum.
Lions full-back Chrysander Botha had to leave the field after coming off the worst in a clash of heads with Dwayne Sweeney and soon after the Chiefs forwards began to take control.
Showing great composure, they worked the ball into opposing territory before Gareth Anscombe crossed out wide for the game's first try, adding a tricky conversion himself.
Hooker Nathan Harris had a try ruled out by the video referee for an obstruction in back play, but it didn't halt the Chiefs for long.
Tanerau Latimer was able to extend their lead with a try three minutes before the break, before Ngatai squeezed over just before the hooter, completing a double-blow for the South Africans.
The game was gone when they compounded that by turning over cheap possession early in the second-half and five phases later it was Pauliasi Manu who was able to power his way under several defenders to score his team's fourth try.
There were some occasional moments of magic from the Lions, including when skipper Warren Whiteley made a bust down the left, beating several men on a 50-metre run.
Although he didn't score, he gave his team a great platform from which Elton Jantjies sent winger Courtnall Skosan diving over.
The Lions pack were not short of effort, but they were outplayed on the night by the opposing eight and the points were well and truly secured for the Chiefs when Andrew Horrell's kick behind the defensive line was well read by Bundee Aki, who was first to the ball to record his seventh try in the competition.
Dwayne Sweeney's run down the right flank caused further problems for the Lions' defence, before a switch of play to the left presented Tim Nanai-Williams with the opportunity to step his way through a weary defensive line to round off a convincing win.
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|Saturday 19th July|
|Sharks 31 - 27 Highlanders|
|Brumbies 32 - 30 Chiefs|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Stormers 10 - 34 Sharks|
|Lions 60 - 25 Cheetahs|
|Reds 3 - 34 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 8 Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
|Sunday 6th July|
|Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders|
|Saturday 5th July|
|Cheetahs 27 - 20 Sharks|
|Stormers 16 - 0 Bulls|
|Western Force 30 - 20 Reds|
|Crusaders 21 - 13 Blues|
|Friday 4th July|
|Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne Rebels|
|Chiefs 24 - 16 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 28th June|
|Western Force 14 - 40 Blues|
|Waratahs 39 - 8 Brumbies|
|Hurricanes 16 - 9 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th June|
|Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 Reds|
|Highlanders 29 - 25 Chiefs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com