Rugby: Chiefs edge Highlanders in Queenstown

The Chiefs jumped out of the blocks and managed to keep out a fast finishing Highlanders outfit in Queenstown today.

The Chiefs ran out 38-36 winners after being ahead 31-17 at the break.

With two weeks to go until the two sides clash in the first round of the Super 15, both teams showed glimpses of team work but there is obviously still plenty of work to do.

The Chiefs found some cracks in a poor Highlanders defence in the first half and All Black first five-eighth Aaron Cruden made some nice breaks and scored a classy try.

But the home side gained more cohesion as the game went on and scored the final three tries of the game.

Phil Burleigh, who was in the Chiefs wider training squad until last this week, scored one of the tries for his new team, the Highlanders.

Burleigh has been drafted into the Highlanders to cover a decimated Highlanders midfield, which suffered further damage yesterday when wider squad member Glenn Dickson was forced off with a sprained wrist.

Those to impress for the Chiefs flanker were Scott Waldron, halfback Brendon Leonard and fullback Robbie Robinson.

Best for the Highlanders were No 8 Nasi Manu, halfback Aaron Smith while veteran hooker Andrew Hore made an impact when he came on.

Chiefs 38 (Robbie Robinson, Jackson Willison, Tim Nanai-Williams, Aaron Cruden tries, penalty try, Cruden pen, 5 con) Highlanders 36 (Telusa Veainu, Aaron Smith, Kurt Baker, Doug Tietjens, Phil Burleigh, Andrew Hore tries, Chirs Noakes 2 con, Lima Sopoaga con)

Halftime: 31-17 Chiefs
Crowd: 4000.

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