April 1 (Reuters) - Super Rugby highlights from week seven:
Two tries in three minutes in the second half saw the Crusaders claim a hard-fought victory in an entertaining game that belied the low scoreline.
The home side led 5-0 at halftime through wing Madosh Tambwe’s score, with the Crusaders twice denied tries after forward passes from flyhalf Mitch Hunt to wing George Bridge.
But the visitors did get their first score on 51 minutes through skipper Sam Whitelock, and then claimed the match-winning try shortly afterwards when Jack Goodhue crossed over.
Elton Jantjies reduced the deficit late on with a penalty, the first points for the home side in over an hour, but they could not force the win in the closing minutes.
Whitelock finds key to break through stubborn Lions defence
Record-breaker Strauss bags hat-trick for victorious Bulls
Lam scores four as Hurricanes thump Rebels
Wainui try secures tight Chiefs win over Highlanders
Waratahs, Blues clash moved due to stadium clash
NSW govt. drops plan to demolish stadium
Pocock to start in Brumbies comeback
Cheika delights at strong start for Australians
Wallabies winger Speight signs for World Cup
Russia seeks clarification on Romanian player
Rugby Europe seeks further details over Belgium-Spain
Officials call for action over rising injuries
Tuilagi suffers injury setback
Former Wales prop Jones to retire
Raiwalui named Wallabies forwards coach
England to play home tests away from Twickenham
Hooker Adriaan Strauss bagged a hat-trick of tries in what was a South African record 149th Super Rugby appearance as the Bulls pack outmuscled the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld.
All the former Springbok captain’s scores came from line-outs, the third one a steal after the error-ridden visitors missed their jumpers five metres from their own line.
Winger John-Ben Kotze and centre Jesse Kriel also crossed the line for the home side, while the Stormers, who played for 20 minutes with 14 players, scored through lock Jan de Klerk, centre Damian de Allende and flank Siya Kolisi.
The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Bulls, while the Stormers have now lost all four away games in this year’s competition and travel to the Lions next weekend.
Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez set the benchmark for his side with a punishing performance on both defence and attack while his brother Robert was flawless with the boot as the Sharks saw off a poor Blues side at Eden Park.
Flyhalf Robert du Preez converted all six of his side’s tries and landed seven penalties, which ultimately separated the two teams on the scoreboard, for the visitors. He also scored a try to finish with 38 points.
The Blues only looked to be in the game when number eight Akira Ioane, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and flyhalf Stephen Perofeta all scored while Sharks winger Sibusiso Nkosi was in the sinbin for a high tackle to take a surprise 28-26 lead.
Once they were restored to their full compliment the Sharks continued to notch up points everytime they were in Blues territory to ensure the victory margin, which helped given Rieko Ioane and George Moala scored late tries for the Blues.
Winger Ben Lam notched four tries as the Hurricanes scored 42 unanswered points to beat the Rebels and puncture the illusion of an Australian Super Rugby renaissance.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett, number eight Gareth Evans and inside centre Ngani Laumape also crossed for the Hurricanes, who had been trailling 19-8 after 30 minutes before running over the top of the tiring home side.
The Rebels’ only try was scored by lock Matt Phillip, while flyhalf Jack Debreczeni added four penalties.
New Zealand sides won all 26 matches against Australian opponents last season and hopes had been high the Rebels, who had won four of their five matches, could break that drought in the first trans-Tasman contest this year.
A 68th-minute Sean Wainui try and two others scored either side of half time propelled the Chiefs to victory over the Highlanders in Hamilton.
Wainui gave his side the lead for good after a topsy-turvy encounter on the scoreboard even though the home side had dominated the much of the possession and territory.
Fullback Solomon Alaimalo and hooker Nathan Harris had scored either side of half time to give the home side a 20-7 lead only for the visitors to come storming back with tries to Tevita Li and Sio Tomkinson to take a two-point lead with about 20 minutes remaining.
The Highlanders, who lost flyhalf Lima Sopoaga early in the match with what appeared to be a serious Achilles injury, had scored the match’s first try through All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo. (Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Nick Said; Editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)