(Reuters) - Highlights from Super Rugby week 12 matches:
JAGUARES 30 STORMERS 25 The Jaguares scored three tries, the decisive third a penalty try, to beat Stormers 30-25 and cling firmly to a playoff berth in a tense Super Rugby clash at Velez Sarsfield.
The Argentine team led from beginning to end after an early try by flanker Pablo Matera but their indiscipline allowed the Stormers to keep in touch throughout with six successful penalty kicks, four by flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and two in the second half by fullback Damian Willemse.
Wing Ramiro Moyano scored the Jaguares’ second try early in the second half and they were awarded a penalty try 10 minutes from time for a deliberate knock-on by JJ Engelbrecht, who was sent to the sin bin.
The Stormers went over for a late try by replacement wing Seabelo Senatla but could not prevent Jaguares from taking a fourth consecutive victory and edging to within a point of the Bulls and Sharks in third place in the South African conference.
A late try from replacement prop Simphiwe Matanzima secured a deserved victory for the Bulls over the Waratahs at Loftus Versfeld, but they were made to sweat over what should have been a more comfortable success.
The Bulls showed dominance up front with their forwards, but could not convert that into a larger margin on the scoreboard as they allowed the Australian side to creep back into the contest.
Fullback Warrick Gelant and number eight Duane Vermeulen scored the Bulls’ other tries, both inside the opening quarter, before Matanzima popped up with what proved the winning score 10 minutes from time.
Scrumhalf Nick Phipps, fullback Kurtley Beale and wing Curtis Rona all crossed for the Waratahs, who capitalised on errors from the home side to stay alive, but could not pull off what could have been a crucial victory in the tightly-contested Australian Conference.
Hooker Folau Fainga scored a hat-trick of tries as the home side came from 12 points behind to beat their New Zealand visitors in Canberra on Saturday.
Fainga’a, who turns 24 on Sunday, is now the competition’s top try scorer this season with 10.
The Blues got off to a blistering start with tries in the opening 10 minutes from TJ Faiane and Caleb Clarke, who intercepted to run in.
But Fainga’a and James Slipper had the Brumbies on the board as they trailed 15-12 at halftime and they dominated after the break to secure a deserved victory.
Flyhalf Marty McKenzie converted an Angus Ta’avao try after the hooter to grab a thrilling draw for the Waikato Chiefs as they rallied from 16 points down with 20 minutes to play in Dunedin on Saturday.
Tries from flyhalf Josh Ioane, fullback Ben Smith, wing Matt Faddes and flank James Lentjes had the Highlanders in control of the contest and seemingly on course for a comfortable win.
But after scrumhalf Brad Weber and loose-forward Luke Jacobson had crossed for first half scores, Ta’avao bagged a brace to rescue the draw for the Chiefs.
All Black Smith had to be helped off the field during the final 10 minutes with what appeared to be a knee injury, while the Highlanders lost both loose forward Lachlan Boshier and lock Michael Allardice in the first half.
The Hurricanes scored four tries in the first 21 minutes to take a 26-0 lead before holding off a Rebels fightback in the second half to win their fourth match in a row.
Centre Ngani Laumape, flyhalf Beauden Barrett, winger Wes Goosen and flanker Vaea Fifita all crossed in the early onslaught at the Wellington Stadium on Saturday.
Lock Matt Philip finally got the Australian Conference leaders on the scoreboard when he crossed in the 53rd minute and tries from centres Billy Meakes and Reece Hodge gave the Rebels hopes of an unlikely comeback.
A long-range penalty from fullback Jordie Barrett in the 75th minute was the only score the home side managed in the second half but it was enough to keep the Hurricanes firmly in second place behind the Crusaders in the New Zealand conference.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa scored a 72nd-minute try which ultimately proved decisive for the Reds in an ill-disciplined match in Brisbane on Friday in which the Sunwolves were reduced to 12 men for the final five minutes of the game.
Sunwolves winger Semisi Masirewa was sent off by referee Angus Gardner in the 50th minute after he picked up his second yellow card, while Yu Tamura and Rahboni Warren-Vosayco were given yellow cards in the final 10 minutes of the match.
Prop Masataka Mikami was also given a yellow card in the first half for the visitors, who stayed in the match with two Gerhard van den Heever tries and 16 points from the boot of flyhalf Hayden Parker.
Reds’ lock Harry Hockings also received a red card in the final five minutes for kicking Warren-Voysaco in the head, although tries to Sefa Naivalu, Taniela Tupou and Bryce Hegarty, who added 12 points from the boot, gave the Reds the win.
Mitchell Hunt scored a try and added the conversion after the final hooter to snatch a draw for the Canterbury Crusaders in their clash with South Africa’s Sharks in Christchurch on Friday.
The Crusaders had trailed for much of the match as Curwin Bosch slotted seven penalties for the visitors, but managed to pinch the draw as they hammered away at the tryline for the final few minutes.
Codie Taylor and Jack Goodhue added tries for the home side, who moved to 42 points and extended their lead at the top of the New Zealand conference over the Wellington Hurricanes (32), who host the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury, Nick Mulvenney, Nick Said and Mark Gleeson; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly/Ed Osmond/Christian Radnedge/Pritha Sarkar