The Highlanders recorded a surprisingly easy win against the highly-rated Chiefs, scoring four unanswered tries to secure a vital bonus point at a foggy Rugby Park in Invercargill.
Otago's win was their 10th of the season, enabling them to leapfrog the Chiefs into second place on the New Zealand conference standings.
They have already wrapped up a wildcarth berth with two rounds to go and have a mathematical chance of finishing top of the table.
The Chiefs remain firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot but their chances of playing a semi-final are fading after they slumped to their fifth loss of the year.
The Highlanders led 11-3 at halftime after Patrick Osborne scored the only try of the opening 40 minutes and then ran away with it in the second half.
Waisake Naholo added a second try shortly after the re-start as the Highlanders started to tighten their grip on the game before finishing with a late flourish.
Richard Buckman dived over out wide for his team's third try in the final 10 minutes before Ben Smith secured the bonus point two minutes from the end. – Reuters
Original source: Highlanders book play-offs spot