Three-week ban for high tackle turns into two weeks after Papali'i aces World Rugby 'coaching intervention'.
They beat the Hurricanes in difficult conditions but required a freakish performance from Mark Telea and an off night from Jordie Barrett to do it, writes Patrick McKendry.
Tue, May 30
Folau Fakatava, who scored a dramatic game-winner against the Reds in Aaron Smith's final home game, also says loyalty to southerners has kept him in Dunedin.
Mon, May 29
Aaron Smith was sent off a winner from Forsyth Barr Stadium thanks to some late heroics from his heir apparent and received a rousing haka from teammates to cap a special night.
Sat, May 27
Folau Fakatava has ensured Aaron Smith's final home game as a Highlander was a win with an 80th minute try to steal a 35-30 win over the Reds.
Fri, May 26
Ahead of his final home game for his beloved club, Smith sat down with Michelle Prendiville to discuss the people - and moments - that helped get him there.
Resting players has suddenly become a hot topic in Super Rugby Pacific and it backfired spectacularly for the men from Canberra, writes Patrick McKendry.
Tue, May 23
Aaron Smith will take the field under the roof in Dunedin for the final time this weekend against the Reds with one of his biggest fans missing from the stands.
Upset in Perth allows Crusaders to stay second on Super Rugby Pacific table and increase their chances of a home semifinal.
Sun, May 21
The game carried on for five minutes after the final hooter but in the end the Highlanders made it worth it with a Sam Gilbert penalty giving them a 20-17 win over the Rebels.
Sat, May 20
Defending champs get into playoffs mode as Chiefs learn some hard truths in New Plymouth, writes Patrick McKendry.
Mon, May 15
Struggling Kiwi side put in one of their most impressive performances of the season during defeat in Canberra.
Sun, May 14
Defending champions' big players rise to the occasion in Christchurch - but the same can't be said of the Blues, writes Patrick McKendry.
Kiwi rivals meet tomorrow hoping for a win that allows them to avoid high-flying Chiefs in a Hamilton semifinal, writes Patrick McKendry.
Fri, May 12
Fijians bring flair, unpredictability and joy to what has been a competition dominated by the Chiefs' excellence, writes Patrick McKendry.
Tue, May 9
The Chiefs and their stellar backline have shaken off a slow start in Dunedin to hand the Highlanders another error-ridden loss and keep their unbeaten season alive.
Fri, May 5
Paul Feeney and Nick White have plenty of history but their hoping to write a new chapter together with the high-flying Chiefs.
Thu, May 4
Mismatches and diminishing crowds - the competition is becoming less relevant, but NBA and NFL could help provide answer, writes Patrick McKendry.
Tue, May 2
The most balanced team in the competition just beat the defending champions again - they are near sure things for the title, writes Patrick McKendry.
Mon, May 1
Ben Donaldson's last-minute conversion of a desperate Mahe Vailanu try earned the Waratahs a heart-stopping 21-20 win over the Highlanders.
Sat, Apr 29
They appear the smartest and most complete team in the competition but how will they cope with expectation, asks Patrick McKendry.
Mon, Apr 24
Halfback will likely join up with the squad next week after his dad, Wayne, passed away recently.
Mon, Apr 17
Chiefs deservedly reclaim No.1 ranking in Super Rugby Pacific with a performance in Wellington high on skill and composure, writes Patrick McKendry.
They easily accounted for the Highlanders but the Chiefs are a far tougher prospect for the Canes, writes Patrick McKendry.
Wed, Apr 12
A sloppy first half saw the sides enter the sheds with just one point separating them but the Hurricanes proved too much after the break to secure a 29-14 win.
Sat, Apr 8