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Chiefs show Crusaders who's boss


Evan Pegden


Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs passes under pressure from Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.

Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs passes under pressure from Israel Dagg of the Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images

It's two in a row for the Chiefs in Super Rugby and after upsetting the Crusaders 24-19 at McLean Park tonight as they showed they must be taken seriously by all other sides.


Dave Rennie and his support staff have gambled on a number of young players and, partly due to early injuries, have thrown them in to the heat of battle almost from the outset.

The result is back-to-back wins over the Blues and Crusaders after losing the first New Zealand conference derby narrowly to the high-flying Highlanders.

Some felt it would take time for the new-look Chiefs to build but Rennie's crew have done their homework very thoroughly and it is showing as the belief builds among the players and the huge work ethic that the coaches have stressed from the outset and made a key ingredient of their recruiting is paying off early.

The Chiefs dominated possession and territory for the second week running, although they had to withstand a typically determined Crusaders fightback in the second spell after taking a 16-6 lead to the halftime break.

In the end they scored two tries to the Crusaders' one, emerged triumphant again from the physical battle, stood up and at times dominated in the set-pieces - usually the Crusaders' strength - and for the third week in a row defended outstandingly.

The Chiefs took the game to the Crusaders right from the start and the confidence soared as the much-vaunted red and black scrum buckled and twisted under pressure, conceding turnovers and penalties as 20-year-old rookie Ben Tameifuna had Ben Franks under all sorts of trouble.

The visitors dominated both possession and territory, playing a strong mix of ball-in-hand and kicking for territory to keep the Crusaders pinned back in their own half for the majority of the time.

The only try of the opening spell went the Chiefs' way when inspirational blind-side flanker Liam Messam was driven over in the right corner from a blind-side attack after another solid buildup which featured Sonny Bill Williams taking the ball up strongly, the forwards taking it on and then Messam finishing off before getting the nod from television match official Richard Kelly.

That try came 26 minutes into the half and vaulted the Chiefs to a 13-3 lead once five-eighth Aaron Cruden knocked over the wide-angled conversion.

Earlier, Cruden had kicked the Chiefs into a 3-0 lead in the opening minute of the match, but hit a flat patch with his kicking and missed his next two attempts, Crusaders No 10 Tyler Bleyendaal having levelled the scores at 3-3 in the eighth minute.

Some big Chiefs scrums, strong running from Williams up the middle of the field and great ball carrying from youngsters Tameifuna and workaholic lock Brodie Retallick thus went unrewarded until Cruden finally found his rhythm and range again halfway through the opening spell.

Down 13-3, the Crusaders suddenly looked like the awakened sleeping giant as halfback Andy Ellis and No 8 and captain Kieran Read looked to inspire the match favourites, who were playing yet another home game away from Christchurch.

Messam stopped Read scoring after a blind-side scrum break from Ellis and then Ellis was unlucky not to get a try himself when he was harshly ruled offside with a base-of-the-scrum steal inside the Chiefs' 22.

Bleyendaal and Cruden exchanged penalty goals in the last five minutes and the Crusaders finished the half on attack with Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Tim Nanai-Williams bundling Corey Flynn into touch in the right corner right on halftime.

As the teams trooped under the stands for the 10-minute break, the Crusaders knew they had not been their usual efficient selves with a high error rate under the pressure applied by the upstart Chiefs.

The Crusaders opened the second spell looking determined to finally impose their game on the Chiefs, but again in the conditions made greasy by pre-match rain they let themselves down with their handling and even a stunning break by winger Israel Dagg brought no reward.

A crucial ruck steal by Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson spoilt a dangerous Crusaders attack at the line, but then Robinson had the ball stolen from him after fielding a high kick and the Crusaders made no mistake this time with centre Robbie Fruean running a great angle to score behind the posts, Bleyendaal's conversion closing the gap to 16-13.

The Chiefs needed to get back into the game and when they worked their way marginally into Crusaders' territory Cruden was handed the ball for a tough penalty kick 50 metres out, the ball just dropping under the crossbar.

But it gave the visiting side much needed field position and when Ellis flicked an awkward pass back to Flynn on the Crusaders' 22m line the resulting knock-on it put the Chiefs in prime attacking territory.

They took quick advantage with the midfield scrum and went left to hammer the corner where pumped up loosehead prop Sona Taumalolo got over in a melee for the try that referee Garratt Williamson awarded when Kelly was unable to give him any reason not to from inconclusive video footage.

Cruden's conversion missed but the try gave the Chiefs breathing space once more at 21-13 - not for long though as Bleyendaal nailed consecutive penalty goals from out in front in the space of three minutes to close it back up to 21-19.

With the Chiefs suddenly on the back foot it took some great defence from centre Richard Kahui - outstanding all game - and right winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma to inspire a rearguard action.

Finally they worked their way back into the attacking half of the field, Cruden chased his own chip kick and Zac Guildford knocked on to give the Chiefs an attacking scrum on the Crusaders' 22m line.

There was no immediate reward apart valuable field position and when Bleyendaal was penalised for not rolling away less than five minutes from the end he made no mistake from 40m out to give his team some breathing space at 24-19.

Not done yet, the Crusaders swept back downfield from the kickoff, Read desperately stretched out for the intercept that would have given his team the winning chance, but he knocked on and the Chiefs were able to clear from the resulting defensive scrum. Their defence held out against phase after phase before the mistake came after the final hooter and the Chiefs had their second win in a row.

The Chiefs now go to Mt Maunganui next Friday night to take on Australia's Brumbies, brimming with confidence after holding their own so far in the home conference.

CHIEFS 24 (Liam Messam, Sona Taumalolo tries; Aaron Cruden conversion, 4 penalty goals) CRUSADERS 19 (Robbie Fruean try; Tyler Bleyendaal conversion, 4 penalty goals). HT:16-6.

Fairfax NZ News

Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58 vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42 vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32 vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18 vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25 vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46 vs REB 29 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22 vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33 vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20 vs BRU 30 Stats
CHT 24 vs HIG 45 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5 vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32 vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17 vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31 vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 17:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 17:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 19:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 17:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 15:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 17:35EP
RED vs CHF 19:40SS
CHT vs WAR 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO vs LIO 01:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 17:35EP
REB vs FOR 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 13 12 1 0 143 57
Waratahs 13 9 4 0 50 41
Stormers 13 9 4 0 42 38
Chiefs 13 9 4 0 87 44
Brumbies 13 7 6 0 102 38
Lions 14 8 6 0 -27 36
Highlanders 13 9 4 0 89 43
Bulls 13 7 6 0 29 35
View all
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