Lowe, Cruden power Chiefs to 15-24 victory over Highlanders

Aaron Cruden was impressive for Chiefs
Aaron Cruden was impressive for Chiefs

Highlanders 15-24 Chiefs, Forsyth Barr Stadium

James Lowe scored a double while All Blacks international Aaron Cruden contributed with nine points as Chiefs begin their Super Rugby season with a 15-24 win over Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Lowe crossed over twice in the ninth and 17th minute with Cruden adding conversions on both occasions to take the score to 17 points for the visitors at half time.

In reply, Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga scored three penalties in the first 40 minutes as they trailed by five points heading into the second half.

Hooker Hika Elliot extended Chiefs' advantage in the second half when he strolled past the post in the 46th minute and Cruden was once again successful with the extras.

Sopoaga added two penalties to bring down the gap to six points but following a 67th minute three-pointer from Cruden, the Chiefs ensured they saw the final few minutes through to secure a nine point victory in their opening game of the season.

Chiefs are placed second in the New Zealand conference with the win behind Blues and both the teams will lock horns in the next round while Highlanders will host Crusaders in their next encounter.