The Chiefs beat the Highlanders and closed the gap to the Hurricanes in Super Rugby's highly competitive New Zealand Conference.

All three sides are set for the play-offs, but they trail the Crusaders at the top of the group and jostled for position on Saturday.

The Chiefs secured a standout result as they won 45-22 on the road at the Highlanders for their third win in four away matches after a blistering first half.

Six tries before the break - including two from Toni Pulu - incredibly had the visitors up 42-0 at the break as they put the result beyond doubt.

But the hosts were able to deny the Chiefs a bonus point. Teihorangi Walden scored a brace soon after the restart, before another two tries followed.

The Chiefs will now have the Hurricanes in their sights ahead of their meeting, with the second-placed side in the conference losing 24-12 to Brumbies, who ran in three second-half tries to overturn a 12-5 deficit half-time deficit.

There was a surprise thriller between two of the league's strugglers, meanwhile, as the Sunwolves defeated the Bulls 42-37 in Singapore.

The two number 10s were the stars of the show as the Sunwolves' Hayden Parker scored a try and kicked six conversions, while Handre Pollard crossed once and put away four conversions and three penalties.