Crusaders beat Chiefs in brutal Fiji clash
Garrin Lambley - Sport24 Editor
Cape Town - The Crusaders kept their unbeaten streak alive with a brutal, but thrilling, victory over the Chiefs in Suva, Fiji on Friday.
As it happened: Chiefs v Crusaders
The Crusaders won 31-24 after trailling 17-13 at half-time.
The Crusaders put the late withdrawal of captain Matt Todd behind them, scoring three tries through flank Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, fullback David Havili and replacement hooker Ben Funnell. Flyhalf Richie Mo'unga added two conversions and four penalties.
The Chiefs replied with four tries of their own through wings Tim
Nanai-Williams and James Lowe, prop Kane Hames and flyhalf Aaron Cruden. Besides his late try, Cruden had a forgettable night and was on only on target with a single conversion. Fullback Damian McKenzie took over the kicking duties late on and added a conversion of his own.
The Crusaders picked up four points for their victory and extended their lead atop the New Zealand Conference and the Overall log.
The Chiefs left with a single point for losing by seven or fewer points, but did the Lions no favours in halting the Crusaders' juggernaut from moving eight points clear in the Overall standings.
The Chiefs remained second in the New Zealand Conference, but will be looking over their shoulder at the Hurricanes who are five points adrift, but having played one fewer match.
In next weekend's Round 14 action, the Crusaders travel to Melbourne to play the Rebels (Saturday, May 20 at 11:45 SA time), while the Chiefs visit Eden Park in Auckland to play the Blues (Friday, May 19 at 09:35 SA time).
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tim
Nanai-Williams, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe,
10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7
Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic
Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20
Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun
Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George
Bridge, 10 Richard Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Pete Samu, 6
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen
Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell,
17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Vernon
Fredericks, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele