Auckland - Daniel Carter became the leading points scorer in Super rugby after kicking 15 points in the Crusaders' 20-13 victory over the Waratahs in Christchurch on Saturday.
Carter came into the Super 14 match on 1007 points and took that tally to 1022 after slotting five penalties, moving him past Brumbies' Stirling Mortlock, who has 1019.
Neither side were able to assert any dominance in a match characterised by controlled pressure and bone-rattling defence, and it was not until Crusaders' scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali'i scored a 76th minute try that the match was settled. "It was always going to be a tough match," Crusaders captain Richie McCaw said in a televised interview.
"I'm proud of the way the guys ... ground it out, got the points and played down their end of the field."
Wallabies number eight Wycliff Palu, who signed a contract extension until 2012 earlier this week, left the field in the second half with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Carter slotted two penalties, and missed two others, in the first half before Daniel Halangahu kicked the Waratahs' first penalty in the 31st minute.
Berrick Barnes then stepped up in the final minute of the half to level the score at 6-6 when Fotuali'i was sinbinned for a dangerous tackle on Barnes.
Carter added his third penalty to give the home side a 9-6 lead after the break but the Crusaders defence finally buckled after more than 20 phases, Rob Horne pouncing on a crafty grubber kick behind the tryline by Halangahu.
The flyhalf converted to give the Waratahs a 13-9 lead before Carter slotted two more penalties after sustained pressure to give the Crusaders a 15-13 advantage with 13 minutes remaining.
The Crusaders hammered away at the Waratahs line for the rest of the match and Fotuali'i was awarded a try after referee Craig Joubert went to the television match official to confirm the grounding of the ball.
"You can't win without the ball and our discipline was a little bit off tonight," Waratahs captain Phil Waugh said.
"We weren't clinical in that area and didn't get hold of the ball in that final 20 minutes when we needed to."
Crusaders - Try: Kahn Fotuali'i. Penalties: Dan Carter (5)
Waratahs - Try: Rob Horne. Conversion: Daniel Halangahu. Penalties: Halangahu, Berrick Barnes.
Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)