The Chiefs won 36-26 over the Rebels but missed out on the bonus point they craved to keep alive their realistic Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final hopes at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney on Sunday.
The Hamilton-based side needed a bonus-point victory against the winless Rebels to have any firm confidence in overcoming top pair the Blues and the Highlanders ahead of the final round of fixtures next weekend and raced to a three-try lead in the first half.
Anton Lienert-Brown crossed twice, including a superb 20th-minute solo try, with fly-half Kaleb Trask also touching down for the Chiefs inside the first 25 minutes to open up a 19-0 lead.
The Rebels showed fight to respond with three tries of their own before half-time, with a double from forward Isi Naisarani and one from Stacey Ili squaring the game up at the break.
Chase Tiatia came off the bench to score a second-half double, while Trask got his second for the Chiefs in the 52nd minute.
Winger Andrew Kellaway crossed for the Rebels who had a 70th minute George Worth try disallowed for obstruction.
The result moves the Chiefs to 14 points ahead of their final-round game against Waratahs, with the Blues and the Highlanders in the top two spots on 19 and 18 points respectively. The Rebels remain winless.
FT | Hard fought win in Sydney. A huge thanks to all our fans in Sydney for coming out & for all our support back home in Chiefs Country— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) June 6, 2021
36 - 26 #CHIvREB
FT - First Windows & Doors pic.twitter.com/gCofu6EWyP