The Crusaders beat a resilient Chiefs side 20-34 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton and go into the international break at the top of the Super Rugby log.
The Canterbury team continued their good run against fellow Kiwi opposition, winning their 11th match in 14.
It is also the 10th win on the bounce for the defending champions, who always find a way to win the tight contests.
The defeat ends the Chiefs’ 11-game unbeaten run at home, going back to 2016.
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Luke Romano all crossed for the visitors.
Romano’s late try, sealed the game, taking away the bonus-point for the Chiefs.
Sean Wainui and Luke Jacobson, who scored twice, got on the scoresheet for the Chiefs.
Jordan Taufua and Jack Goodhue were ruled out of the match, but the changes to the Crusaders did not affect their performance.
The Chiefs were caught napping for Bedwell-Curtis’ 5th-minute try.
Codie Taylor’s quick-thinking, after series of penalties from rolling mauls, got the ball rolling.
The hooker took quick-tap while the opposition waited for another lineout or shot at goal, set up the score.
Damian McKenzie and Richie Mo’unga traded penalties to make it 3-10 inside the opening quarter.
Wainui and Jacobson’s tries came in quick succession which put their team in front.
Anton Lienert-Brown’s break started the move for Wainui’s score.
Brodie Retallick took crash-ball, which was recycled at lightning speed and sent wide to the winger for the score.
Two minutes’ later, Charlie Ngatai hacked the ball ahead, waited for David Havili to gather before ripping the ball from him.
The turnover was shifted quickly to the omnipresent Jacobson, who barged over the line.
McKenzie missed both conversions meaning the Chiefs only led by three.
Another beasting from the Saders pack secured Todd’s five-pointer which put the visitors back in front; a lead they would not surrender.
Mo’unga kicked a penalty on halftime to extend the lead to seven.
The Crusaders scrum was starting to dominate, winning a penalty that set up Bridge’s score, soon after the interval.
The Chiefs finally stopped the rolling maul, only to be caught out in the backs and Bridge’s expert finish.
The game was getting away from the Waikato men, but they hung in, playing Baa-Baas rugby.
Jacobson’s second, after a 10-phase attack, kept the home side within touching distance.
Crusaders finish strong.
Wyatt Crockett made his 200th appearance for the Crusaders from the bench; a remarkable feat, especially in the brutal modern game.
Defence was the order of the day for Scott Robertson’s men, who repelled every attack, including the kitchen sink.
It would see the eight-times champs over the line.
Romano’s late score snuffed out the losing bonus-point and sent his team into the international break flying high.
Final score: Chiefs 20 (13) Crusaders 34 (20)
Tries – Wainui, Jacobson (2)
Pen – D. McKenzie
Con – D. McKenzie
Tries – Bedwell-Curtis, Todd, Bridge, Romano
Pen – Mo’unga (2)
Con – Mo’unga (3), Hunt
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Richard Kelly
Assistant Ref 2: Cam Stone
TMO: Glenn Newman
15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Ethan Blackadder, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Peter Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23Tima Faingaanuku.