Three kiwi teams advance to the semifinals

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The Crusaders beat the Reds 37-15 and will host the Chiefs in Christchurch on Friday after their 39-15 win over the Waratahs.


The Blues beat the Highlanders 35-6 and will host the Brumbies at Eden Park on Saturday after they beat the Hurricanes 35-25.


The Crusaders extended their run of successful finals games to 11 in Super Rugby. The Reds were unable to break their 19-game run of losses against New Zealand sides while they remain winless in Christchurch this century.


In beating the Waratahs in their first playoffs contest, the Chiefs extended their winning run over them to six games and broke their own run of four losses in post-season play.


The Blues extended their unbeaten run to 14 games, a feat surpassed only by the Crusaders on three occasions.


The Brumbies' win over the Hurricanes was their first over a New Zealand side in playoffs since 2014, and their 10th win and keeps them in the hunt for their first Super title since 2004.


Crusaders 37 Reds 15


Giving the Crusaders a tougher contest than many expected, the Reds deserved a better final score. However, in true Crusaders' fashion, the important moments were seized in a flash resulting in tries typical to the particular skills that fullback Will Jordan, first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and wing Sevu Reece bring. Then there is the sheer power of replacement prop Tamaiti Williams, called onto the bench before the game, driving from a ruck to score. The first try of the second half scored by Reds wing Filipo Daugunu got them back within a point and its quality suggested a tight contest. But flaws impacted on the Reds, most notably at the scrum where they were pummelled. Conceding 16 penalties to eight and losing three scrums, not including those from which penalties were awarded, the Reds might have forced the Crusaders to make slightly more tackles 139-132, but the home team gained more reward for their running game, carrying 519 metres to 329 and making six clean breaks to two.


Crusaders 37 (Will Jordan, Richie Mo'unga, Sevu Reece Tamaiti Williams tries; Mo'unga 4 con, 3 pen) Reds 15 (Suliasi Vunivalu, Filipo Daugunu tries; Lawson Creighton con, pen). HT: 16-8



Chiefs 39 Waratahs 15


Halfback Brad Weber was on the end of a Chiefs' lineout play that saw him doubling round and into a gaping hole to put his speed to use to score after five minutes. But the Waratahs responded with a clever grubber kick sitting up for wing Dylan Pietsch to dive over. Flanker Luke Jacobson appeared out of a 21st minute lineout maul to score to lead 17-10. Faulty Waratahs passing in their own 22m area resulted in centre Alex Nankivell getting a foot to the ball and running through to score before first five-eighths Bryn Gatland landed a penalty goal to lead 27-10 at the break. A turnover in the Waratahs' 22m area saw flanker Michael Hooper break into space before feeding No8 Will Harris off on a 60m run to the line for a superb solo try. But any hopes of a recovery were quickly denied the Waratahs when a Chiefs backline move saw wing Jonah Lowe cut back infield to offload to Weber who scored his second try. No8 Pita Gus Sowakula capped the effort when barging over off a goal-line ruck to score.


Chiefs 39 (Brad Weber 2, Luke Jacobson, Alex Nankivell, Pita Gus Sowakula tries; Bryn Gatland 4 con, 2 pen) Waratahs 15 (Dylan Pietsch, Will Harris tries; Tane Edmed  con, pen). HT: 27-10



Blues 35 Highlanders 6


Sheer speed, pure and unadulterated, from the Blues, especially their classy midfield backs, overcame a sometimes diffident early approach, to finally put a game Highlanders side away. Reduced to 14 men with a red card for hooker Andrew Makalio after the first quarter, the Highlanders rarely had scoring chances other than from first five-eighths Marty Banks' boot. The Blues, by comparison, seemed to benefit every time they were able to lift the speed of their game. First five-eighths Beauden Barrett hit two passes at speed and scored twice, the same with flanker Akira Ioane off a pass from centre Rieko Ioane. Fullback Stephen Perofeta found key gaps and initiated plays for tries further downfield. The slow Blues start wasn't helped when Akira Ioane and lock James Tucker were denied tries while Rieko Ioane twice made dangerous breaks only to lose the ball. To ram their advantage home, the Blues defence stood the test, refusing to allow the Highlanders to get the ball over the line. Replacement wing A J Lam was rewarded for his persistent chasing of downfield kicks with a fine try while second five-eighths Roger Tuivasa-Sheck drew the biggest roar from the 23,500-strong crowd when running in his first try for the side from 35m out.


Blues 35 (Akira Ioane, Beauden Barrett 2, A J Lam, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tries; Stephen Perofeta 5 con) Highlanders 6 (Marty Banks 2 pen). HT: 6-14



Brumbies 35 Hurricanes 25


In keeping with their lower seeding, the Hurricanes attempted to take the game to the Brumbies, running 390 metres to 232, making 117 carries to 74, beating 21 defenders to six, winning 100 rucks to 60 and making 105 tackles while demanding 130 from the Brumbies. However, they conceded 14 turnovers to seven and lost the mauls nine to one. Fullback Josh Moorby gave the Hurricanes every hope scoring two first-half tries, the first off a Jordie Barrett cross-kick and the second when fed into a gap 35m out and racing away from the defence. The Brumbies scored their first through another of their lineout drives with Folau Fainga'a the recipient, and then second five-eighths Irae Simone ran in from first receiver off a ruck for the second. Up 22-15 at the break, the Hurricanes lost their try-scoring touch and it was the Brumbies who stormed home in the last quarter. Fullback Tom Banks scored first and then wing Tom Wright capitalised on a charge down of a Salesi Rayasi clearance. Rayasi was then yellow-carded for playing the ball on the ground and, from the penalty kick to the corner and the inevitable lineout drive, the ball was released on the short side for Wright to cross.


Brumbies 35 (Folau Fainga'a, Irae Simone, Tom Banks, Tom Wright tries; Noah Lolesio 2 con, 3 pen; Nic White con) Hurricanes 25 (Josh Moorby 2 tries; Jordie Barrett 5 pen). HT: 15-22



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