Credit / Sky Sport
The Crusaders and Chiefs both squeaked wins against their Australian super rugby counterparts in Saturday's games, while the Blues blew the Rebels off the park in Melbourne, 50-3.
The latest victories made it a clean sweep for New Zealand's five super rugby teams in the first round of the trans-Tasman competition, after Friday's wins by the Highlanders 40-19 over the Queensland Reds and the Hurricanes 64-48 against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Brumbies lock Darcy Swain told media in the lead up to their game with the Crusaders in Christchurch "we won’t disappoint" and he was right.
The Crusaders were lucky to hold on against a late-charging Brumbies side, winning 31-29 and maintaining their 21-year unbeaten record against the team from the ACT. Ahead 19-7 at halftime, the red and blacks clung on for victory as the Brumbies ran in two late tries, clawing their way back from 31-17 down with less than 10 minutes left on the clock and touching down for the last of their tries with seconds remaining in the game.
In Perth, the Chiefs struggled toward the end of the game as they tried to hold off a Western Force side that refused to throw in the towel.
Down 7-10 at the break, the Force came back from 20-7 behind in the second spell to grab a last gasp try to close the game to within a single point and give them a shot at victory from out wide with a conversion attempt with time up in the game. In the end, the ball flew wide of the posts and the Chiefs banked the win, 20-19.
It was a whole different story for the Auckland Blues in Melbourne who squared off against the Rebels who finished fourth in their local Australian competition.
The Rebels scored their first and only points 10 minutes into the game and remained competitive until the Blues scored a late first half try that pushed the score out to 17-3 at the break. The second spell was one-way traffic with the floodgates flying open and the Blues running in some spectacular tries for a 50-3 finish.
Crusaders 31 (Ethan Blackadder, Richie Mo'unga, David Havili, Brendon O'Connor, Cullen Grace tries; Mo'unga 3 cons) Brumbies 29 (Scott Sio, Irae Simone, Tom Banks, Rob Valetini tries; Noah Lolesio 3 cons, pen). HT: 19-7
Chiefs 20 (Alex Nankivell, Nathan Harris, Jonah Lowe tries; Damian McKenzie con, pen) Force 19 (Penalty try, Richard Kahui, Domingo Miotti tries; Domingo Miotti con). HT: 10-7.
Blues 50 (Tom Robinson, Hoskins Sotutu 2, Akira Ioane 2, AJ Lam tries; Otere Black 3 pens, 2 cons; Zarn Sullivan pen; Harry Plummer 2 cons), Rebels 3 (Matt To’omua pen). HT: 17-3.