July 1 (Reuters) - Highlights from Super Rugby week 17 matches:
The Jaguares put a disappointing run of three defeats as the Pumas behind them by retaining their fine Super Rugby form for a seventh consecutive victory with hardly a change in personnel from the June international window in Argentina colours.
Their win with three tries to two in Buenos Aires boosted their hopes of a place in the playoffs for the first time, which they will go looking for in South Africa against the Bulls and Sharks over the next two weekends.
Tries by wing Bautista Delguy and lock Guido Petti helped the Jaguares to a 15-7 halftime lead and centre Matias Orlando went over in the second half. Sikhumbuzo Notshe and fullback Dillyn Leyds scored tries for the South African side.
The Jaguares’ best season in the competition has been rewarded with a marked increase in home crowds at Velez Sarsfield where 18,000 watched Saturday’s win. Conversely it has not rubbed off on the Pumas, the original objective of the franchise, costing Daniel Hourcade his job as national coach after two losses to Wales and one to Scotland in June.
Mvovo try leads Sharks fightback in crucial win over Lions
Chiefs blow Highlanders away in Suva
Samoa move within sight of World Cup
Intercepts give Waratahs win over Rebels
Former Bok skipper Strauss announces retirement
Brown takes over at Sunwolves
Chabal appointed head of players’ committee
Jones not guaranteed of keeping job
Coaches fear disciplinary ‘nanny state’
Springboks will be World Cup contenders
Jones picks May, Curry as standout performers
Wing Lwazi Mvovo scored an intercept try late on as the Sharks claimed a crucial victory over the Lions in their South African derby at King’s Park on Saturday.
The home side trailed by 10 points at halftime, but a powerful second-half display from their pack and stout defence saw them keep their playoff hopes alive as they moved to within nine points of conference leaders the Lions, but with a game in hand.
Number eight Dan du Preez and centre Andre Esterhuizen scored the other tries for the Sharks, while winger Ruan Combrinck, and flankers Cyle Brink and Kwagga Smith crossed for the visitors.
It was a first loss against South African opposition for the Lions in 22 matches, but one positive was the fact that they were able to call on four key players who returned from long-term injury - captain Warren Whiteley, hooker Malcolm Marx, and wings Ruan Combrinck and Courtnall Skosan.
Sunwolves’ loose-forward Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco scored a try five minutes from time as they claimed victory over South Africa’s Bulls in a see-saw clash at the Singapore National Stadium on Saturday.
Neither side is in contention for the playoffs, but the Sunwolves will be pleased with a record third victory of the season, while for the Bulls it is an 11th straight loss outside South Africa.
The Sunwolves scored six tries to the four of the visitors and came back from a 21-14 halftime deficit to secure the win, which means they have won as many games in 2018 as they managed in the previous two years combined.
With Sunwolves trailing by two points going into the closing stages, Warren-Vosayaco muscled his way through the Bulls defence and despite being brought down he was not held in the tackle and got back to his feet to score under the posts.
Andrew Murihead scored a late try while his team mates controlled the ball and tempo of the game as the Brumbies secured an unexpected win over the Hurricanes in Canberra on Saturday.
Centre Kyle Godwin scored a first-half try for the home side, while hooker Folau Fainga’a and lock Rory Arnold crossed in the second after the Brumbies had set up opportunities from driving mauls following attacking lineouts.
Muirhead crossed following an attacking scrum with three minutes remaining as the Brumbies, who have barely fired a shot in this year’s Super Rugby competition, gave themselves an outside chance of making the quarter-finals.
Captain TJ Perenara and winger Julian Savea scored first half tries for a misfiring Hurricanes side, who suffered their third successive defeat and appear to be mired in a downward spiral after they won 10 games before the losing streak began.
A near-perfect first half performance by the Chiefs was enough to record victory over the Highlanders in Suva on Saturday and move into third in the New Zealand conference.
Winger Toni Pulu crossed twice, while fullback Solomon Alaimalo, prop Karl Tu’inukuafe, flanker Luke Jacobson and winger Sean Wainui all scored tries in the first spell at the National Stadium to race out to a 42-0 lead.
The victory moved the Chiefs to 41 competition points, one ahead of the Highlanders and four behind the Wellington Hurricanes (45). They are fifth in the overall standings.
Inside centre Teihorangi Walden scored twice, while replacement prop Aki Seiuli and loose forward Shannon Frizell also crossed as the Highlanders outscored the Chiefs 22-3 in the second half.
Bernard Foley scored an intercept try with less than eight minutes remaining as the Waratahs overcame a rampant Rebels side to consolidate their lead at the top of the Australian conference.
Foley’s intercept try from halfway came just three minutes after flanker Ned Hanigan dragged his side back into the match following a Kurtley Beale intercept that gave the Waratahs field position.
The victory consolidated the Waratahs lead at the top of the Australian conference, moving the Sydney-based side to 39 points, four ahead of the Rebels, who could be considered unlucky to lose the game after dominating the second half.
Jerome Kaino shanked a last minute conversion attempt in his last match on Eden Park as the Blues won their first game at home this season in a clash that never rose to any great heights, with referee Egon Seconds reducing both sides to 13 men.
Blues winger Rieko Ione and hooker Matt Moulds both crossed after Jordan Petaia and Taniela Tupou were yellow-carded within two minutes of each other in the first half for separate dangerous tackles to give the home side a 21-6 lead they were never in danger of losing.
The Reds were given a similar advantage in the second half when Blues lock Matiaha Martin and replacement prop Sione Mafileo were both sent to the sinbin and scored tries to Duncan Paia’aua and Alex Mafi but were too far behind at that stage.
The match was the last by Blues and All Blacks flanker Kaino before he heads to France at the end of the season.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury, Nick Said and Rex Gowar, Editing by Ed Osmond