Super Rugby Notebook, Apr 2: Chiefs hailed as 'best in the world' by Dawson


Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson hailed Chiefs as the best team in world rugby following their 48-23 thrashing of the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Aaron Cruden was highly influential for the Hamilton-based franchise as they made a mockery of the Brumbies' reputation for strong defending, running in six tries to move top of Super Rugby's New Zealand Conference and Australasian Group.

Their efforts certainly impressed Dawson, a World Cup winner in 2003, who tweeted: "#WORLDCLASS I reckon @ChiefsRugby are the best team in the world right now. #unstoppable #skills #pace #SuperRugby."

Southern Kings had shipped 200 points across four successive defeats at the beginning of their campaign, but held off a determined Sunwolves outfit at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to claim a first success at the fifth attempt.

The day's other matches saw Blues beat a weakened Jaguares side and Bulls come out on top against Cheetahs.



Blues 24-16 Jaguares

Jaguares opted to rest a host of leading players for their first Super Rugby game in New Zealand and Blues took advantage, first-half tries from Steven Luatua and Ihaia West - who also kicked four penalties and a conversion - enough to secure victory.

Brumbies 23-48 Chiefs 

Damian McKenzie touched down for the sixth successive game and Cruden put on a masterclass at fly-half as Chiefs highlighted their title credentials with a first win in Canberra for eight years.

Southern Kings 33-28 Sunwolves

Southern Kings were made to work hard for their maiden win in 2016, as their Japanese opponents twice came from behind to level the score. A late try from Elgar Watts sealed victory for the Kings in a game that saw both teams cross on four occasions.

Bulls 23-18 Cheetahs

First-half tries to RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins and Jamba Ulengo set up a hard-fought victory for Bulls, who survived a nervy final half-hour after Torsten van Jaarsveld's touchdown got the Cheetahs back within two points.



James Lowe took an offload from the influential Cruden to touch down just before the half-hour mark and put Chiefs in front for the first time, a few minutes after Matt Toomua had failed to find touch with a penalty.

Watts' late score settled any Southern Kings nerves in Port Elizabeth, after the Sunwolves had shown great character to recover from 15-3 and 23-15 down.



"The backs are electric at the moment. Our job as forwards is just to give them some ball and it seems whatever ball we give them they are making the most of it," said Chiefs captain Sam Cane. "It was always going to be tough at the breakdown, they have some world-class players in that area, we stepped up a wee bit."

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said: "We were still in the game with 20 minutes to go there, 29-23, but [there were] a couple of errors and some skills in certain areas that we need to work on going forward. But that's why they [Chiefs] are on top of the table - they're a side that can make a line break from anywhere and then capitalise on that line break and they did that in the last 20 minutes."



Chiefs now boast 24 points, two more than Highlanders, while the Brumbies remain top of the Australian Conference.

Southern Kings' victory over Sunwolves saw the former move off the foot of the South African Group at their opponents' expense.