The opening Super Rugby match in New Zealand between the Chiefs and Highlanders kicked off at the Wakatipu Rugby Club in Queenstown, in the shadow of the rugged, snow-capped Remarkables mountain range.

The Chiefs had been impressive in pre-season and that carried that into a match in which they led throughout.

A try from the back of the scrum to No. 8 Pita Gus Sowakula gave the Chiefs a comfortable 18-6 lead heading into halftime. The first half had highlighted the rustiness of both teams but the Chiefs mostly controlled possession.

A try to Emoni Narawa eight minutes after halftime extended the Chiefs' lead to 23-9 and though the Highlanders closed within seven points with a try to Daniel Lienert-Brown, the Chiefs were easily able to hold on. A penalty to Chiefs flyhalf Bryn Gatland in the 76th minute sealed the 26-16 win.

Later, the 11-time champion Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 42-32 in a match of little defence.

The Hurricanes led 13-12 in the 30th minute and had the Crusaders under severe pressure, camped in their own half. A series of contentious decisions from then on swung the match in the Crusaders' favour: the Hurricanes had three tries disallowed and a penalty try awarded against them.

The Crusaders won a penalty to take a 15-13 lead into halftime, and another early in the second half to lead 18-13.

Winger Leicester Fainga'anuku then scored the third of a hat trick of tries to give the Crusaders their first clear lead at 25-13 after 52 minutes.


Chiefs 26 (Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Emoni Narawa tries; Josh Ioane con, 2 pens, Bryn Gatland pen)
Highlanders 16 (Daniel Lienert-Brown try; Mitch Hunt con, 3 pens)
HT: 18-6

Crusaders 42 (Leicester Fainga'anuku 3, Shilo Klein tries, penalty try; Fergus Burke 2 cons, 3 pens, Simon Hickey con)
Hurricanes 32 (Ruben Love, Bailyn Sullivan, Jordie Barrett, Jackson Garden-Bachop tries; Barrett 2 pens, 3 cons)
HT: 15-13