Rieko Ioane made his case for All Blacks selection for the British and Irish Lions Tests as the Blues and Chiefs fought to a frustrating 16-16 Super Rugby draw at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
The Blues wing profited from a trademark offload from Sonny Bill Williams - who is also trying to state his All Blacks claims - to score the opening try in Auckland.
Damian McKenzie and Johnny Faauli scored tries for the Chiefs in a draw that did not help either side in the New Zealand conference.
Tries: Rieko Ioane
Pens: Francis 3
Tries: McKenzie, Faauli.
Pens: McKenzie, Cruden
Reds vs Force
A resoundingly resilient Force outfit and a complete lack of discipline has killed Queensland's season, as the visitors kept their season alive with a 40-26 win.
Two yellow cards from total brain snaps - an Eto Nabuli high shot and a Nick Frisby karate kick in an attempt to save a try - meant the Reds were always on the back foot.
The forwards toiled hard and kept Queensland in the contest through a pair of Stephen Moore rolling maul tries but the Force simply played smarter rugby, as they always seem to do against the Reds.
Tries: Paia'aua, L Tui, Moore 2
Cons: Cooper 3
Tries: R Haylett-Petty, Penalty Try, Brache, Polota-Nau
Cons: Grant 3
Pens: Grant 4
Sunwolves vs Cheetahs
Flanker Uzair Cassiem scored two tries as the Cheetahs thrashed the Sunwolves 47-7 in Tokyo on Saturday to post their third victory of the Super Rugby season.
Defeat by the South Africans left the Sunwolves with just a sole win from 12 matches this campaign - a 21-20 home win over the Bulls last month - and Sunwolves head coach Filo Tiatia blamed familiar shortcomings.
"If we'd taken our opportunities it would have been a different story," he told reporters.
Tries: Cassiem 2, Jordaan, Marais, Van Jaarsveld, Meyer, Peterson
Cons: Marais 5, Uys
Highlanders vs NSW Waratahs
Seven hundred and seventy days. That’s how long it’s been since an Australian team won in New Zealand, as the Waratahs became the latest team felled across the Tasman, going down 44-28 to the Highlanders.
A year to the day since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs, the last Australian victory over a Kiwi team anywhere in the world, they looked to have remedied their sluggish starts with a half-time lead, but were unravelled in the second half by recklessness as much as anything else.
Two tries conceded with NSW a man down just after half-time proved the ultimate difference, leaving the Waratahs to rue a year-long drought against New Zealand teams.
Tries: Buckman, Coltman, Li, Thompson, Lienert-Brown, Sopoaga
Cons: Banks 2, Sopoaga
Tries: Gordon 2, Folau, Phipps
Cons: Foley 4
Rebels vs Crusaders
Sean McMahon’s Wallabies hopes have been dashed yet again by injury, with the fearless flanker dislocating his wrist in Melbourne’s 41-19 loss to the Crusaders.
McMahon’s arm was caught up in a tackle in the 73rd minute of the loss, with the 22-year-old coming straight off the field, holding his arm in a makeshift sling.
If the preliminary diagnosis is correct, McMahon could still be in with a slim chance of donning the gold jersey, but the blow is another bad turn of fortune for the backrower, the Rebels and the Wallabies.
Tries: Koroibete 2, Smith
Cons: Volavola, Hodge
Yellow cards: Hodge (25')
Tries: Brown 2, Mataele, Tamanivalu, Havili, Drummond
Cons: Mo’unga 4
Bulls vs Hurricanes
Defending Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes were too clinical for Northern Bulls in Pretoria Saturday and won 34-20 despite losing star flyhalf Beauden Barrett just before the match.
There was no immediate explanation as to why the All Black withdrew from the line-up at the last minute on his 26th birthday, and acted as a "water boy" instead. The Hurricanes later revealed that a head knock the week before had ruled him out
The successor to retired New Zealand rugby legend Dan Carter, Barrett is set to a key figure when the All Blacks confront the British and Irish Lions next month.
Tries: Matthews, de Jager
Cons: Schoeman, Jantjies
Pens: Schoeman 2
Tries: Jordie Barrett, Laumape, Goosen, Abbott, Apisai
Cons: Black 2, Barrett
Sharks vs Stormers
A "beautiful" try by Sharks winger Sibusiso Nkosi sealed a 22-10 triumph over fellow South Africans the Stormers in Durban Saturday.
As a match that had included three unspectacular tries passed the hour at a wet Kings Park stadium, the home side won a lineout and Nkosi burst between
two Stormers to race clear and score between the posts.
Flyhalf Garth April converted to close the scoring in a showdown between likely quarter-finalists that never scaled dizzy heights.
"It was a beautiful feeling to score that try in front of the home crowd in my first South African derby," said man-of-the-match award winner Nkosi.
Tries: Deysel, Lewies, Nkosi
Cons: April 2
Jaguares vs Brumbies
The Brumbies have flogged the Jaguares 39-15 to complete a rare overseas double and all but seal an Australian Conference title.
It was a remarkable performance from the Brumbies - their best this year.
It certainly appears to be the performance that will secure a relatively unexpected conference title for Stephen Larkham's side.
The forwards, through Allan Alaalatoa, Sam Carter and Scott Fardy, were dominant.
Tries: Lavanini, Pagadizaval
Tries: Carter, Banks 2, Speight, Muirhead 2
Cons: Hawera 3
Lions vs Kings
Golden Lions scored six tries with 14 men to crush Southern Kings 54-10 Sunday and remain in hot pursuit of Canterbury Crusaders for top place in the Super Rugby standings.
Record seven-time champions Crusaders have 59 points with fixtures against fellow New Zealand sides Otago Highlanders (home) and Wellington Hurricanes
(away) to come.
Tries: Smith 2, Ferreira, Skosan, Marx, van Rooyen, de Klerk, Coetzee.
Cons: Jantjies 5, Coetzee 2
Red Cards: Robbie Coetzee (31')
Cons: de Wet
Pens: de Wet
Yellow cards: Ime Herbst (9'), Chris Cloete (31')