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Crusaders Pushed by Chiefs in Christchurch

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Crusaders beat Chiefs at a rainy Orangetheory stadium

The Crusaders were pushed by the Chiefs but managed to claim their second win of Super Rugby Aotearoa. In incredibly wet conditions, Will Jordan’s brace made the difference and leaves Warren Gatland’s side winless in the competition.

 

First Half

The Crusaders returned to a rainy Christchurch after their win in Wellington looking to keep up with the Blues. Given the conditions, this game was always going to be characterised by handling errors and kicks. Richie Mo’unga set the tone with some early kicks that forced knock-ons. From one such kick, his side won a scrum that earned them a penalty, which Mo’unga converted.

The Crusaders have won 35 straight games at the Orangetheory stadium

 

The Chiefs then dominated possession, but they kept losing the ball whenever they got into promising positions. It took them over a quarter of the match to get on the board through a Damian McKenzie penalty.

With both sides conceding penalties, it took something special to break the deadlock. McKenzie missed Mo’unga’s towering cross-field kick, that fell into the arms of Sevu Reece. Reece then found himself with space ahead to run into and Will Jordan supporting on the inside. Just before the tackle Reece offloaded to Jordan who ran in unopposed for the first try of the game. With Mo’unga’s conversion making the score 10-3, the remainder of the half was played out with more penalties and knock-ons.

 

Second Half

Early in the second half, Reece and Jordan once again combined to punish the Chiefs. After Aaron Cruden tipped the ball into touch, the All-Black winger took a quick lineout to Jordan who, once again, ran in unopposed. Mo’unga missed his conversion from wide but his side still held a commanding 15-3 lead.

 

Their lead was then extended by a Mo’unga penalty with only 20 minutes remaining. At this point, the Chiefs whirred into life. With some good kicking and a penalty, the Waikato outfit found themselves in the Crusaders 22. After some powerful phases, Sean Wainui managed to shunt over from close range and bring the Chiefs back into contention.

McKenzie converted from wide and then scored another penalty to bring his side to within five points of the champs. Despite their best efforts, however, the Chiefs were unable to get the all-important try and were resigned to a bonus point. Even though the Crusaders were pushed by the Chiefs, this was the home side’s 35th home win in a row, showing just how much of a fortress the Orangetheory stadium is.

 

What next for the teams?

The Crusaders will now travel to Dunedin to face the Highlanders, whereas the Chiefs host the Hurricanes in Hamilton. With this win, the Crusaders are three points behind table-toppers, the Blues, but have a game in hand. The Chiefs on the other hand, are second from bottom on just two points. If they lose next week, they will be rock bottom.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Crusaders Pushed by Chiefs in Christchurch’. Who do you think can beat the reigning champions? Let us know!

 

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Eddie is currently studying for his BA in French at Bristol University. He has played rugby since a young age, playing a variety of positions in the back line. His passionate interest in sport, especially rugby, has encouraged him to transfer it to journalism, working with his university paper, Epigram, in addition to his role with Sporting Ferret.

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