Super Rugby

Crusaders beat the Chiefs in Fiji




Super Rugby kicks off this weekend in Suva, Fiji where the Chiefs host current leaders the Hurricanes in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby derby match.

This is a special match as it is being played in Fiji but this was also the venue for the last match between the teams as they played there in July last year.

The Chiefs are undefeated against fellow Kiwi opposition this season and have lost just once, against the Stormers in Cape Town.

The Crusaders are undefeated, winning all 11 games – this should be a humdinger between the two best sides in the competition.

Match detail

The teams leave the changerooms and run out to loud cheers from the Fijian crowd at the International Stadium.

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: BEEP! BEEP! Referee Mike Fraser gets the game underway with the Crusaders kicking off.

3.00: The game has started at a frenetic pace, with some big hits coming from both teams. The Crusaders take the ball nine phases but lose the ball forward. So the Chiefs have the scrum, inside their half.

5.00: A kicking battle ensues before, the Chiefs, decide to go wide. Aaron Cruden kicks a beautiful touch-finder, pinning the Crusaders deep in their 22.

7.00: There is a ferocious battle at the breakdown; the Crusaders have already won two turnovers at the ruck. They will have an attacking lineout inside the Chiefs’ 22.

9.00: The Crusaders set up a driving maul, but they don’t go anywhere. Cruden is penalised for offsides, and Richie Mo’unga calls for the tee.

10.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga makes it 3-0 to the Saders.

12.00: The Crusaders pin the Chiefs deep in their half with another wonderful kick. However, James Lowe takes it quickly and the Chiefs clear. Mo’unga kicks a high ball, Damian McKenzie drops the ball and it’s another penalty to the Crusaders.

14.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga, from in front, slots the penalty, extending his side’s lead.

16.00: Lowe breaks the first-time tackle, offloads to Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who is taken down. Anton Lienert-Brown breaks, but the referee pings the Chiefs at the breakdown and the Crusaders clear.

18.00: Bryn Hall’s kick goes out on the full, the Chiefs go quickly and Cruden, finds touch. The Crusaders will have the lineout on their 10. Ryan Crotty is off for an HIA.

20.00: TRY Tim Nanai-Williams! Damian McKenzie takes the ball at 10, passes wide, taking out two players, Lienert-Brown collects and gives a wonderful inside pass to Cruden. The first-five goes through the hole, draws George Bridge and sends Nanai-Williams away in the corner. 

21.00: MISS! The conversion is wide.

23.00: The Crusaders charge down the field, but knock on, in good field position. Scrum to the Chiefs.

24.00: TRY James Lowe! Cruden kicks long, the ball bounces over Bridge’s head, the winger can’t collect and drops the ball onto Lowe, who kicks the loose ball over the try line, beats the cover defender and flops on the ball. 

25.00: MISS! It’s another failed conversion but the Chiefs lead.

28.00: TRY, no TRY? TMO is checking for obstruction. Jack Goodhue breaks the line, sells a dummy, is tackled, but gets his offload away to Bedwell-Curtis, who scores under the posts.

28.00: TRY Heiden Bedwell-Curtis! Owen Franks is a lucky man because we have seen that called obstruction before.

29.00: Mo’unga adds the extras and the Crusaders lead, again.

30.00: TRY Kane Hames! Wow! The Chiefs hit back immediately. The big man barges over from close range. 

31.00: Conversion! Cruden manages to find his range, just. 

35.00: It’s end to end here. Lowe goes close. The Crusaders win a penalty and Mo’unga kicks a huge touch finder, pinning the Chiefs deep in their half. Crotty will not return, he has failed his HIA.

39.00: A couple of reset scrums and the Chiefs clear. The Crusaders go wide, Goodhue kicks to touch. Lineout to the Chiefs, inside the Saders’ half. They go wide, Lienert-Brown makes a try-saving tackle. The Crusaders recycle, but the ball is slow.

42.00: The Crusaders go 11 phases and win a penalty. They go quickly, but the ref calls them back. They opt for a scrum.

43.00: The Chiefs get a free-kick, clear to touch, and it’s half-time. Sam McNicol did not return after his HIA.

The half-time score was Chiefs 17 Crusaders 13

41.00: BEEP! The second half is underway. The Chiefs attack wide, go inside and…lose the ball. The Crusaders, try to get out of trouble with a little dink kick, almost do, but it’s into touch.

43.00: The ball is lost forward by the Chiefs. The Saders go wide and put boot to ball. Been a slow start to the second half in Suva.

47.00: TRY David Havili! Sensational. The Crusaders go the length of the field and score. It was a fantastic piece of offloading and support play. Seta Tamanivalu broke down the sideline. James lowe missed the intercept, the winger passed Goodhue, in support, who sent the fullback away.

48.00: MISS! Mo’unga can’t add the two points.

52.00: The Chiefs go to a lineout play between Michael Leitch and Mitchell Brown, who runs over a defender, the ball is recycled, but Sam Cane loses it forward.

55.00: The Chiefs, after some sustained pressure, win a penalty for offsides.

56.00: MISS! Aaron Cruden pushes his kick wide. That was poor.

58.00: Cruden kicks out on the full. The All Black is having a poor night with the boot. The Crusaders will have the lineout on their 10. They go wide, Richie Mo’unga goes through a massive hole, sends the pass to Manasa Mataele, but he is stopped short.

59.00: TRY Ben Funnell! The hooker picks up at the base of the ruck and dives over. The crowd is going mad. 

60.00: Mo’unga slots the touchline conversion. 

63.00: The Crusaders win a penalty. Up steps Havili, from 50 metres, but his kick lands short. The Chiefs are dropping the ball regularly and are still scoreless since the break.

68.00: Another penalty, this time at the scrum, will see Mo’unga call for the tee.

69.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga extends his side’s lead to 11 points with 11 to play.

71.00: TRY Aaron Cruden! The Chiefs had a scrum inside the Crusaders’22, Liam Messam picked up the ball at the base of the scrum and sent a flat pass to Cruden. The flyhalf stepped inside the two defenders and dived over to score.

72.00: Cruden has handed the kicking duties to McKenzie, who slots the conversion.

75.00: Penalty to the Crusaders. This is an important kick from Mo’unga.

76.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga’s kick drifts inside the posts and makes it a seven-point ball game.

80.00: The Chiefs lose the ball and the Crusaders hang on for their 12th win on the trot.


Live In-Play Betting.

The final score is Chiefs 24 (17) Crusaders 31 (13)


Tries – Nanai-Williams, Lowe, Hames, Cruden
Pen –
Con – Cruden, McKenzie
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Bedwell-Curtis, Havili, Funnell
Pen – Mo’unga (4)
Con – Mo’unga (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: Shane McDermott



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.

Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.


15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Peter Samu, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Vernon Fredericks, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele

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