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Craig Clarke delighted as the Chiefs claim victory over the Highlanders

Last Updated: 22/02/13 6:11pm

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Craig Clarke: Pleased with his side's performance

Craig Clarke: Pleased with his side's performance

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Chiefs captain Craig Clarke praised his "exciting team" after they opened up the new Super Rugby season with a 41-27 victory over the Highlanders.

The defending champions scored tries through Tim Nanai-Williams, Patrick Osborne and Asaeli Tikoirotuma, while Gareth Anscomble slotted over 21 points during an all-action encounter in Dunedin.

And despite admitting there were areas to improve on, Clarke was pleased to leave Dunedin with a bonus-point win.

"Across the board, we'll be a little disappointed to have let in a few tries but we've got a hell of an exciting team hence we scored a few points," he said.

"You can't win a championship by giving points away, though, so we will have to address that."

Pretty good

Although an 'electric' back division stole the show, Clarke was delighted with the way a new-look pack coped.

"It was a fairly big battle in the forwards and we had a couple of young guys in our front row that did well," he added. "It was a pretty good debut for those guys."

The Highlanders had led 27-21 following tries from Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Kade Poki but they just couldn't hold on.

And skipper Gear admitted: "It just got away from us in the end there and all credit to the Chiefs, I think they played really well.

"We probably let ourselves down by trying to force the 50:50 pass when we perhaps should have held on. But those are the lessons that we will learn and will try to move on."

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