Chiefs too good for Crusaders
Napier - The Crusaders slumped to
back-to-back defeats in the Super Rugby competition on Friday, beaten by
a committed Chiefs side 24-19 in Napier.
bristling with All Blacks, blew a series of chances in drizzly
conditions and failed to impose themselves on a Chiefs team enjoying the
momentum of a comprehensive win over the Blues last week.
Crusaders are the most successful side in Super Rugby history, with
seven championships to their name, but have been far from convincing
this season and the result leaves them with only one win from three
"In patches we put it together but too many penalties
really killed us," Crusaders captain Kieran Read said, promising a swift
"There's a long way to go in this competition, we'll definitely be working on a few things."
The Chiefs' youthful pack remained undaunted by their seasoned opponents and recorded a two-try-to-one victory.
dominated the opening stages of the game as Aaron Cruden kicked a
penalty in the first minute for the Chiefs, with Tyler Bleyendaal
missing a chance to level after five minutes but nailing a second
Cruden then squandered two penalty opportunities but the
Chiefs remained dominant, their scrum not intimidated by the Crusaders'
All Blacks-studded pack.
Flyhalf Cruden restored the Chiefs' lead
after Israel Dagg was penalised for a shoulder charge, before team-mate
Liam Messam broke through for the first try of the match.
The ball passed through seven pairs of hands after a line-out for Messam to score, Cruden easily converting.
league star Sonny Bill Williams, who defected from the Crusaders in the
off-season, conceded a needless penalty to his former team to narrow
the gap but the Chiefs went into half-time up 16-6.
piled on the pressure after the break and were rewarded when Robbie
Fruean latched onto a Kieran Read offload for a try, with Bleyendaal
Sona Taumalolo hit back with second try
for the Chiefs, powering over the line past a scrambling Crusaders
defence, but the Christchurch-based team kept in touch two penalties to
make it 21-19.
With four minutes to play, Cruden kicked another penalty and the Chiefs defence did enough to secure the win.
15 Sean Maitland, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Robbie Fruean,
12 Adam Whitelock, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis,
8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Tom
Donnelly, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks
16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Luke
Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Tom MarshallChiefs:
Robbie Robinson, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill
Williams, 11 Tim Nanai-Williams, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow,
8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie
Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1
Substitutes: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Shane Cleaver,
18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell,
22 Jackson Willison