Reds edge out Highlanders

PA Sport
Crusaders and Queensland Reds were both victorious on Friday
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Crusaders and Queensland Reds were both victorious on Friday

Queensland Reds withstood a punishing Highlanders comeback to keep their Super 15 title defence alive with a 19-13 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds were pinned on their line and under siege for the last five minutes of the match but will look back on season-saving tackles from Quade Cooper, Scott Higginbotham and James Hanson as crucial to the result.

The Highlanders scored two tries to the Reds' one, but 14 points from the boot of Mike Harris proved the difference as Mike Delany's radar faltered.

The Crusaders mixed desperation with clinical efficiency to beat the Chiefs 28-21 at Waikato Stadium.

Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden passed 200 points for the season but his side squandered possession under pressure, although there was still enough in the contest to keep their hopes alive almost until the end.

Two penalties after the final siren saw the Chiefs throw everything at the Crusaders' line but calm defence from the visitors kept them out.

Meanwhile, the Sharks kept their play-off hopes alive with a bonus-point 32-10 victory over the Bulls in Durban.

The Sharks won by four tries to one as they moved up to sixth in the standings, one place behind their opponents.

The match was a missed opportunity for the Bulls, who did not take any points and will likely need to beat the Lions next week to stay in play-off contention.

The Sharks are likely to need another bonus-point success against the Cheetahs next weekend to make the play-offs.

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