Super Rugby Aotearoa delivered yet another epic contest with both sides putting on a terrific display in difficult wet conditions in Christchurch. The Crusaders got their first home win (18-13) of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa series, against a Chiefs side that is still looking for their first win.
In very wet conditions the Crusaders got rewarded for their territorial dominance in the 10th minute with a converted penalty to lead 3-0 which was also the score after 20 minutes of play. The Chiefs started to come back into the game during the last 10 minutes of the game and looked good going into the second quarter.
After 24 minutes of play, the Chiefs levelled the score at 3-3 and were in control in the wet conditions. Fourteen minutes later and with the Chiefs dominating, a long-distance effort by the Crusaders gave them a 10-3 lead which was also the half-time score. At the break it is a real arm wrestle on a wet and wintry afternoon in Christchurch with anything still possible.
A mistake by the Chiefs lead to the second try for Will Jordan which stretched the Crusaders' lead to 15-3. The Crusaders kicking game gave them the edge in the 3rd quarter and with the score 18-3 at the end of the 3rd quarter the Crusaders cruising o a victory.
With fifteen minutes to go the constant pressure by the Chiefs eventually resulted in a try to the Chiefs which reduced the Crusaders lead to 18-10. In a desperate last 5 minutes of the game, the Chiefs threw everything they had at the Crusaders. Only desperate defence by the Crusaders kept the Chiefs from scoring the winning try. The Crusaders maybe a bit lucky to win 18-13, however, they took their opportunities while the Chiefs made critical errors on their way to score.
The Chiefs will host the Hurricanes next weekend, still looking for their first win while the Crusaders will play against the Highlanders.
Crusaders: Tries: Will Jordan (2). Conversion: Richie Mo'unga. Penalties: Richie Mo'unga (2).
Chiefs: Try: Sean Wainui. Conversion: Damian McKenzie. Penalties: Damian McKenzie (2).
Crusaders: 15. Will Jordan, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Braydon Ennor, 12. Jack Goodhue, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Whetukamokamo Douglas (VC), 7. Billy Harmon, 6. Cullen Grace, 5. Mitchell Dunshea, 4. Samuel Whitelock, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 2. Codie Taylor (C), 1. Joe Moody. Replacements: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. George Bower, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Ethan Blackadder, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. David Havili (VC), 23. Leicester Faingaanuku.
Gallagher Chiefs: 15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Solomon Alaimalo, 13. Quinn Tupaea, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 11. Sean Wainui, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Brad Weber, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Lachlan Boshier, 5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4. Mitchell Brown, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Bradley Slater, 1. Aidan Ross. Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Reuben O’Neill, 18. Ross Geldenhuys, 19. Adam Thomson, 20. Mitchell Karpik, 21. Lisati Milo-Harris, 22. Kaleb Trask, 23. Tumua Manu.