April 30 (Reuters) - Highlights from week 10 of Super Rugby:
The Auckland Blues kept their slim playoffs hopes alive with a tough away win over the ACT Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.
Bottom of the New Zealand conference, the Blues had tries from Matt Duffie, Akira Ioane and Melani Nanai but kept the home side try-less to clinch their fourth win of the season.
The Brumbies slumped to their sixth loss and third in succession but remain top of the weak Australian conference, with their lead trimmed after the second-placed New South Wales Waratahs beat the Queensland Reds on Saturday.
The victory maintained New Zealand’s perfect record against Australian sides this season.
Rebels, Force march quietly to Super Rugby gallows
All Blacks concerns as skipper Read fractures thumb
Sharks tame Jaguares, take strong grip on second place
Late Jantjies try seals bonus-point win for Lions over Force
All Black fullback Smith to miss Highlanders’ Africa tour
Red-hot Highlanders rack up record win over Stormers
Concussion forces All Blacks lock Broadhurst into retirement
All Blacks enforcer Kaino out for up to six weeks
Brumbies give short shrift to Rebels merger proposal
Six-match ban for Sharks centre Esterhuizen
Super Rugby Fixtures
Sharks cracked Jaguares’ unbeaten home record with a 33-25 victory to consolidate second place in Super Rugby’s Africa 2 conference in a tight contest at Velez Sarsfield on Saturday.
The teams shared a 3-3 try count with Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicking 18 points, his fourth successful penalty after the 80th-minute hooter denying the Argentine side a bonus point.
Jaguares, who fell to a fourth consecutive defeat, made too many mistakes as they sought a fourth try that could have turned the match their way in a disappointing second-half performance.
The Southern Kings claimed back-to-back Super Rugby wins for the first time in their history with a record bonus-point victory over Australia’s Melbourne Rebels in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The South African side followed up their 26-24 win over the Waratahs in their previous match with a controlled display in which they scored six tries, through wings Wandie Mjekevu and Makazole Mapimpi, hooker Martin Bezuidenhout, flanker Tyler Paul, replacement flyhalf Pieter-Steyn de Wet and fullback Masixole Banda.
The win is a third of the season for the Kings, and their largest margin of victory ever in Super Rugby, while they also eclipsed their previous best mark for points in a single game.
The Rebels remain rooted to the foot of the Australasian Group with a single success in eight games.
Wing George Bridge scored a hat-trick of tries for the second week running as New Zealand’s Canterbury Crusaders maintained their 100 percent start to the Super Rugby season with a bonus-point victory over the Cheetahs of South Africa in Bloemfontein.
Fullback David Havili (two), flyhalf Richie Mo‘unga and replacement scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond also ran in tries as the Crusaders completed a ninth win of the campaign to stay top of the Australasian Group.
The Cheetahs contributed to an open contest, played at times at a frenetic pace, as they ran in scores through wings Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen, and prop Ox Nche.
South Africa’s Lions recorded a bonus-point victory over the Western Force from Australia as flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored a crucial third try after the hooter at the end of the game in Perth.
Leading by two points, Jantjies grabbed his side’s third try after earlier scores from centre Lionel Mapoe and wing Courtnall Skosan as the visitors ended a six-game losing streak against the Force and made it eight wins from nine matches in Super Rugby this season.
The injury-depleted hosts were in the game right until the final try but could manage only five penalties from scrumhalf Ian Prior.
The New South Wales Waratahs kept alive their season with a scrappy win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
Chasing the ACT Brumbies for top spot in the Australian conference and an automatic playoff berth, the Waratahs got over the line courtesy of flyhalf Bernard Foley, who slotted home a penalty with two minutes left at Lang Park to nose his team in front.
Nick Phipps and Michael Hooper scored first-half tries for the Waratahs, with Foley racking up 19 points off the tee.
The Reds had tries from Karmichael Hunt, Lukhan Tui, Izaia Perese and Stephen Moore but indiscipline cost them badly in the second half, when Foley kicked four of his five penalties.
Livewire fullback Damian McKenzie scored a brace of tries as the Waikato Chiefs held off the dogged Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday.
The pint-sized playmaker touched down in the 40th and 60th minutes and also slotted home two conversions and a penalty to rack up 17 points for the hosts on a drizzly night at Waikato Stadium.
In their second season, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves showed their improvement against the dominant New Zealanders and, despite having two players sent off after the final siren, they defended stoutly on their try-line to deny the hosts a bonus point.
Fumiaki Tanaka and Derek Carpenter crossed in the second half for the Sunwolves, with Hika Elliot and Solomona Alaimalo scoring early tries for the Chiefs, who notched up their eighth win of the season.
The Otago Highlanders ran in nine tries in Dunedin to hand South Africa’s Stormers a thumping at the hands of New Zealand opposition for the second straight week.
Fijian winger Patrick Osborne scored two tries and created another for centre Rob Thompson as the home side crossed five times in the first half on their way to their fifth straight win and a record points tally against the Stormers.
Winger Waisake Naholo and number eight Liam Squire also crossed before the break with Naholo adding his second and flanker Dillon Hunt, replacement hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate and replacement back Matt Faddes also scoring in the second half.
The Stormers, who lost 57-24 to the Canterbury Crusaders last week, scored the first and penultimate tries of the match through loose forward Nizaam Carr and replacement scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage but fell to their third successive defeat. (Compiled by Nick Mulvenney, Ian Ransom, Nick Said and Rex Gowar; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty, Pritha Sarkar, Clare Fallon and Neville Dalton)