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Back-to-back champs Chiefs keep Super Rugby hopes alive

14 points from Aaron Cruden were crucial, but nothing is decided in the race for the final play-off spots.

THE CHIEFS HAVE kept their hopes of winning a third consecutive Super Rugby title alive with a 24-16 win against the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium.

Dave Rennie’s men came out on top of a contest that was error-ridden for much of the opening half, as out-half Aaron Cruden kicked 14 points from the tee. Jamie Mackintosh and Brodie Retallick added tries to secure a vital win for the Waikato-based franchise.

Source: NZAUTV Rugby Union/YouTube

Champions in 2012 and 2013, the Chiefs ended a three-game losing streak in beating the ‘Canes this morning. The Wayne Smith-coached side now sit level on match points with the Brumbies, who occupy the sixth and final play-off position.

It means the Chiefs head into next weekend’s final regular season game away to the Blues with a chance of advancing into the knock-out stages again. If the Auckland side beat the Crusaders tomorrow without a try-scoring bonus point, they would join the Chiefs and the Brumbies on 40 match points after 15 games.

Also still in contention for one of the final play-off spots are the Force, who play the Reds in Perth tomorrow morning and then face the Brumbies next weekend.

Defeat for the Hurricanes in Waikato leaves them in fifth, still on course for a place in the knock-out stages. However, the Wellington side have played all 16 of their regular season fixtures at this stage, meaning a bye next weekend.

They will watch on with deeply vested interest tomorrow and next weekend.

SuperRugby Source: Super Rugby

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Murray Kinsella

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