Warren Gatland’s Chiefs earned their second Super rugby victory by coming from behind to beat the Crusaders 25-15 at Waikato stadium in Hamilton and top the NZ Conference.
The Chiefs outscored the Crusaders by three tries to two after trailing 8-12 at half time.
Scott Barrett almost opened the scoring in the third minute but dropped the ball in front of an open try line. Two minutes later though David Havili delivered a cross field kick for Sevu Reece who raced in to score in the corner.
Aaron Cruden opened the Chiefs scoring with a penalty after the Crusaders had been caught offside.
Reece crossed the line for his second try ten minutes later which with Havili’s conversion gave the Crusaders a 12-3 lead.
Solomon Alaimalo scored the Chiefs opening try which closed the gap to 8-12 which is how the first half ended as the Crusaders turned down several opportunites to kick for points and choosing to attack instead and coming away without adding points.
The Chiefs exploded into the second half by keeping the ball in hand and working the ball to the line which set up Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi for try from the ruck which put the home side into the lead.
The key moment in the came just as the third quarter was ending as Brad Weber was tackled but got the call away to Sean Wainui who was able to run freely into space and score the hosts final try.
Cruden added the conversion which put the Chiefs 7 points ahead.
The Crusaders never gave up chasing the game but the Chiefs scrambled in defence and killed off their attacks.
A penalty in the 78th minute put the Chiefs ten points in the lead and cost the Crusaders losing bonus point.
“The Crusaders are class so it’s good to get one over them,” Cane told Sky sports after the match.
“The thing you notice about these derbies and these matches that have a bit riding on them is that they are a bit personal, they’re physical, they’re brutal, and there were some big moments in that game that could have gone either way.”
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett pulled his team-mates into a huddle after the final whistle to told them to remember the feeling. “We don’t like losing. We made too many errors,” said Barrett.
Next week the Crusaders travel to Auckland where they play the Blues while the Chiefs travel to Tokyo to play the Sunwolves.
Final Score Chiefs 25 (8) Crusaders 15(12)
Tries – S.Alaimalo, T.Tahuriorangi, S.Wainui
Pen – A.Cruden 2
Con – A. Cruden 2
Tries – S.Reece 2
Con – D.Havili
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1:Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2:Angus Gardner
TMO :Shane McDermott
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Sam Cane (c), 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements :16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Ollie Norris, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Alex Nankivell
1. Joe Moody,2. Codie Taylor (VC),3. Oliver Jager,4. Scott Barrett (C),5. Mitchell Dunshea,6. Tom Sanders,7. Tom Christie,8. Whetukamokamo Douglas,9. Mitchell Drummond,10. David Havili (VC),11. George Bridge,12. Jack Goodhue,13. Braydon Ennor,14. Sevu Reece,15. Will Jordan
Replacements :16. Andrew Makalio,17. George Bower,18. Michael Alaalatoa,19. Luke Romano ,20. Cullen Grace,21. Bryn Hall,22. Brett Cameron,23. Leicester Faingaanuku