Christchurch - Flyhalf Stephen Brett contributed 11 points as the Crusaders beat the Bulls 16-13 on Friday for the Crusaders' third straight win in rugby's Super 14.
Brett converted the Crusaders' only try, and added two penalties and a drop goal to steer his team home in a match between former champions.
Winger Akona Ndungane scored two tries for the Bulls, the 2007 champions, but Brett's kicking contribution was enough to lift the Crusaders, the 2008 winners, to a narrow win.
"It was a really tough game," Crusaders captain Kieran Read said. "The Bulls really brought it to us, especially in the second half.
"We won the territorial battle in the first half but didn't really take our chances, so it was good to grind it out at the end."
The Crusaders led from the fifth minute when lock Isaac Ross crossed for their only try.
Brett's first penalty gave the Crusaders a 10-0 lead, but Ndungane cut the lead to 10-5 with his first of the two tries scored on either side of halftime.
Brett landed a close-range drop goal in the fifth minute of the second half to increase the Crusaders' margin to 13-5 before Ndungane's second try cut the lead back to 13-10.
Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn tied the score with a 59th-minute penalty but Brett's last goal, 15 minutes from fulltime, re-established the Crusaders' lead.
"It was very close," Bulls captain Victor Matfield said. "I thought we did really well, especially in the second half. We kept the ball in hand but just didn't finish when we had the chance.
"We've got two more matches on tour and hopefully we can win one or two more before we head home."
Crusaders - Try: Isaac Ross. Conversion: Stephen Brett. Penalties: Brett (2). Drop goal: Brett
Bulls - Tries: Akona Ndungane (2). Penalty: Morne Steyn
Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)