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Super Rugby: Gareth Anscombe lands 14 points as the Chiefs edge out the Highlanders
The boot of Gareth Anscombe proved to be the difference as the Chiefs battled to a 19-7 win over the Highlanders.
Anscombe slotted over four penalties and converted Tim Nanai-Williams' try as the Chiefs survived a first-half onslaught to win.
The Highlanders had dominated possession and territory in the opening period as they opted to attack their hosts at every opportunity.
The Chiefs had defended superbly but they were given a helping hand as the visitors were left to rue a number of near-misses
Jason Emery knocked on close to the line, Jarrad Hoeata was somehow stopped short and Hosea Gear was held up. On top of that Colin Slade missed two shots at goal.
The Chiefs had led 10-0 early on but it had flattered the defending champions. Anscombe slotted over a penalty and Nanai-Williams profited after Josh Bekhuis had coughed up possession.
The Highlanders, who looked to run penalties at every opportunity, were finally on the board when Aaron Smith spotted a gap on the blindside of a scrum to score.
Slade converted but try as they might, the Highlanders just couldn't add to their tally.
And through the boot of Anscombe, who has been a revelation at full-back since his switch from the Blues, the Chiefs were able to edge clear.