Super Rugby: Gareth Anscombe's hat-trick helps the Chiefs return to the top of the NZ Conference
Last Updated: 03/05/13 1:03pm
Gareth Anscombe scores the first of his hat-trick
Gareth Anscombe crossed for a hat-trick to help the Chiefs to an entertaining 39-33 victory over the Rebels.
Anscombe's treble came inside 27 first-half minutes as the Chiefs stormed back to the top of the New Zealand Conference - however the Rebels never let them settle.
Anscombe dived over after just two minutes, with the Rebels coughing up possession from the kick-off, while a turnover from Sam Cane provided the platform for his second. The former Blues back then wrapped up his hat-trick - and the bonus point for the Chiefs - when he provided the support to Tim Nanai-Williams' superb break.
And he was only denied a fourth try in the dying minutes by the TMO, with an earlier knock-on having been spotted.
Anscombe, though, finished with 24 points in total, while Bundee Aki, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick also went over for tries.
Aki had scored the second try for the Chiefs after ghosting through some poor defending, while Cane was on hand to finish off Matt Vant Leven's pick and go from the base of a 5m scrum.
Retallick was then rewarded for his endeavour as he charged down James O'Connor's attempted clearance to score.
The Chiefs didn't have things their own way, though, as the Rebels showed plenty of willing. The long arms of Scott Higginbotham and Hugh Pyle resulted in three tries for the hosts - while Nick Phipps wrapped up a try-scoring bonus point and Kurtley Beale crossed on his return to the side.
Higginbotham was first to stretch out to score after combining well with Tom English - although the final pass looked forward - while Pyle showed great skill to swap hands in the process of reaching over.
Pyle then doubled his tally for the match, with the lock again using his height to good effect to dot the ball down.
Phipps added the fourth try after Beale and O'Connor combine to carve open the Chiefs defence. Beale then showed the Rebels what they had been missing during his six-game absence with a brilliant finish to set up a thrilling finale.
O'Connor converted four, however the Rebels were always playing catch up.