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Chiefs escape with late victory over Rebels


The Chiefs had to rely on a late Damian McKenzie penalty to defeat the Rebels 26-23 in Melbourne and keep their top-position in Super Rugby Pacific.


It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Chiefs but was not convincing as the home side fought back from a 12-point deficit midway through the second half to equal scores with six minutes to play.


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The Chiefs kept their cool and stole possession and attacked before a penalty was awarded and converted by McKenzie in the final minutes, who finished with 16 points, all from kicks.


The otherwise scrappy contest proved McKenzie's worth to the franchise as he directed play around the field and generally held the team together.


Wing Glen Vaihu scored early for the Rebels before the Chiefs had to work hard for a 13-11 halftime lead.


Lock Tupou Vaa'i was a notable first-half figure, scoring a try in the 23rd minute before being shown a yellow card for a high cleanout.


The Chiefs win late in Melbourne against the Rebels in Super Rugby
The Chiefs were given a scare against the Rebels in Melbourne. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

The Chiefs appeared to grab control with hooker Samisoni Taukeiaho scored a converted try and McKenzie landed his third penalty to put them 23-11 ahead.


The Rebels's best period, with winger Lachie Anderson crossing twice, in the 57th minute and then with five minutes remaining to set up the tense finish.


The Chiefs moved to third, but will know their position depending on the Brumbies result against the Crusaders.


The Rebels remain sixth but aren't yet guaranteed their first-ever place in the Super Rugby post-season.


Chiefs 26 (Tupou Vaa’i, Samisoni Taukei’aho tries; Damian McKenzie 2 con, 4 pen) Melbourne Rebels 23 (Lachie Anderson 2 tries, Glen Vaihu try, Nick Jooste con, 2 pen). HT: 13-11

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