Dan Carter kicked the Crusaders to a 25-19 Super Rugby victory over the Chiefs in Napier on Saturday keeping pressure on the Blues.
The Crusaders closed the gap to two points behind the Blues who lead the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.
Carter kicked five penalties one drop goal, and a conversion for a total of 20 points in the match.
Carter's 20 points took him to a total of 1191 Super Rugby career points which is three more than the 1188 points he has scored for the All Blacks.
Carter showed why the New Zealand Rugby Union attached such priority to winning his signature on a new four-year contract this week, exerting a subtle influence on all aspects of the Crusaders' game
The 29-year-old flyhalf, having only recently overcome a hamstring injury, carried the ball confidently to the defensive line, picking at it and then finding runners with well-timed passes to direct the Crusaders attack.
Carter provided one such pass in the 43rd minute to lay on the first try of the match to lock Luke Romano.
All of the rest of Crusaders' points came from his boot.
Stephen Donald, who was Carter's All Blacks understudy at times last season, kicked four penalties for the Chiefs and added a conversion of Liam Messam's last-minute try to earn the Chiefs a bonus point for a loss by seven or fewer points.
Donald and Carter exchanged penalties in a scrappy first half which left the teams locked 6-6 at halftime.
Romano's try immediately after the restart was crucial, giving the Crusaders a seven-point lead and the base to play with more authority.
Carter's accurate tactical kicking kept the Chiefs pinned in their half for long periods of the second half and he was able to take advantage as Waikato gave him six second-half shots at goal, of which he landed four.
The Crusaders overcame a number of notable disadvantages on Saturday to claim their ninth win from 13 matches this season and to move within two points of the Blues at the top of the New Zealand conference.
They had just returned from South Africa where they lost last Saturday to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, had a short turnaround and were particularly hard-hit by injuries.
While they fielded a forward pack including seven All Blacks - eight when Brad Thorn returned from injury and took the field as a halftime replacement - Carter was one of only two internationals in the backline.
Center Sonny Bill Williams, fullback Israel Dagg, scrumhalf Andy Ellis and winger Sean Maitland were all sidelined by injuries and the backline beyond Carter had a makeshift look.
While the Crusaders backs seldom combined to threaten the Chiefs defence, the Crusaders forwards became increasingly dominant and Carter turned that dominance into territory and points.
The Chiefs have just five wins from 13 games, but with a bye next week from which they will take four points.
The Crusaders have a tough assignment next week when they travel to Brisbane to play the Reds.
Final Score Crusaders 25 Chiefs 19
Tries - L Romano
Pen - D Carter 5
Con - D Carter
Drop - D Carter
Tries - L Messam
Pen - S Donald 4
Con - S Donald
Referee: Stuart Dickinson
Ass. Ref. 1: Garratt Williamson
Ass. Ref. 2: Chris Pollock
TMO: Nick Briant
Crusaders :1.Wyatt Crockett, 2.Corey Flynn, 3.Ben Franks, 4.Luke Romano, 5.Chris Jack, 6.George Whitelock, 7.Richie McCaw (c), 8.Kieran Read, 9.Willi Heinz, 10.Dan Carter, 11.Zac Guildford, 12.Ryan Crotty, 13.Robbie Fruean, 14.Brent Ward, 15.Tom Marshall
16.David Hall, 17.Owen Franks, 18.Brad Thorn , 19.Joe Wheeler, 20.Steve Alfeld, 21.Matt Berquist, 22.Tu Umaga-Marshall,
Chiefs: 1. Sona Taumalolo,2. Hika Elliot,3. Ben Afeaki,4. Craig Clarke,5. Romana Graham,6. Liam Messam,7. Sam Cane,8. Fritz Lee,9. Brendon Leonard,10. Stephen Donald,11. Sitiveni Sivivatu,12. Dwayne Sweeney,13. Richard Kahui,14. Tim Nanai-Williams,15. Mils Muliaina (Captain)
Reserves:,16. Aled de Malmanche,17. Toby Smith,18. Culum Retallick,19. Taiasina Tuifua,20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow,21. Mike Delany,22. Jackson Willison