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Ioane's late double rocks Crusaders in Super thriller

FRIDAY WRAP: The Chiefs drew first blood in the new Super Rugby Pacific season by defeating defending champion Crusaders 33-29 in a thrilling rematch of last year’s final at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

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Replacement flyhalf Josh Ioane landed two late penalties to give the Chiefs the home victory.

The Chiefs held off a second-half charge by the Crusaders, who scored unanswered tries by Chay Fihaki, twice, and captain Scott Barrett to fight back from 27-10 down at half-time to lead, before Ioane struck.

“It’s good to start the season with a win. It’s always a hard run against the Crusaders,” said Chiefs try-scorer Etene Nanai-Seturo.

A new-look Crusaders, who are bidding for an eighth straight Super Rugby title, lost the season opener against the Chiefs for the second year running.

It ensured a disappointing start for new Crusaders coach Rob Penney, who replaced Scott Robertson after he left to take charge of the All Blacks.

“It was a magnificent comeback, which I’m so proud of,” said Penney.

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“We were scratchy in the first half, the Chiefs played well and didn’t let us in.

“To get back on track in the second half was awesome. The guys will be better for the experience.”

The Chiefs dominated the first half by scoring tries through flank Kaylum Boshier, scrumhalf Xavier Roe and winger Etene Nanai-Seturo, to a single Sevu Reece touchdown for the Crusaders.

But it was a different story after the break as great hands from flyhalf Rivez Reihana, who later went off injured, saw Fihaki cross before Crusaders skipper Barrett stretched out to touch down and make it 27-22.

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Fihaki, in for All Blacks star Will Jordan – out injured for the Super Rugby season – then burst through a huge hole and scorched over to level the scores with 10 minutes left.

The conversion put the Crusaders ahead before Ioane, a second-half replacement for Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie, held his nerve to fire over two penalties and decisively wrestle back the lead.

It ensured a disappointing start for new Crusaders head coach Rob Penney, who replaced Scott Robertson after he left to take charge of the All Blacks.

Both sides lost key players early in either half. The Crusaders’ All Blacks prop Tamati Williams went down clutching his leg on 10 minutes while McKenzie limped off early in the second half.

* In other Friday action the Brumbies dismissed the Rbelels 30-3 in a scrappy Australian derby in Melbourne – a match that showed the gulf between the quality of New Zealand and Aussie teams.

The Rebels’ off-field woes have been reflected in their performance against the Brumbies.

With the club in administration and their future looking increasingly grim, the Rebels players had hoped to put the drama aside in their first home game of the season .

But a small crowd was left disappointed, with the Brumbies easily maintaining their status as Australia’s benchmark side.

* In the final match on Friday the Hurricanes put the seal on New Zealand’s Trans-Yasman dominance with a 44-14 thrashing of a hapless Western Force team in Perth.

The Force were made to pay dearly for a woeful first half.

The Hurricanes shot out to a 22-0 lead by half-time, and they were able to overcome a Force fightback to secure the bonus-point win.

The Force’s starting XV featured a total of six franchise debutants, led by Wallaby halfback duo Nic White (No.9) and Ben Donaldson (No.10).

But Wallaby lock Izack Rodda missed the match after injuring his quad at training on Wednesday.

The Force were their own worst enemies in a one-sided encounter in front of 7855 fans – a lopsided penalty count and 15 missed tackles just in the first half.

* Additional reporting by AAP

Friday’s scores and scorers

Chiefs 33-29 Crusaders

The scorers

For the Chiefs
Tries: Boshier, Roe, Nanai-Seturo
Cons: McKensie 2, Stevenson
Pens: McKenzie 2, Ioane 2

For the Crusaders
Tries: Reece, Fihaki 2, Barrett
Cons: Reihana 2, Kemara
Pen: Reihana

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Liam Coombes-Fabling, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Xavier Roe, 8 Luke Jacobson (captain), 7 Kaylum Boshier, 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 Reuben O’Neill, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 George Dyer, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Cortez Ratima, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Daniel Rona.

Crusaders: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Rivez Reihana, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Dominic Gardiner, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Tamaiti Williams, 2 George Bell, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Christian Lio-Willie, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Taha Kemara, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, Reuben Keane

Rebels 3-30 Brumbies

The scorers

For the Melbourne Rebels
Pen: Gordon

For the Brumbies
Tries: Toole 2, Cale 2
Cons: Lolesio 2
Pens: Lolesio 2

Yellow cards: Filipo Daugunu (Rebels, 26 – foul play, dangerous lifting tackle), Len Ikitau (Brumbies, 38 – repeated infringements, offside)

Teams:

Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Filipo Daugunu, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Rob Leota (ca[tain), 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Matt Gibbson.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Isaac Kailea, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake Strachan, 23 Nick Jooste.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Ollie Sapsford, 11 Corey Toole, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan (captain), 8 Charlie Cale, 7 Luke Reimer, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Rhys Van Nek, 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jahrome Brown, 21 Klayton Thorn, 22 Declan Meredith, 23 Tamati Tua.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Matt Kellahan, George Myers

Western Force 14-44 Hurricanes

The scorers

For the Western Force
Tries: White, Tiatia
Cons: Donaldson 2

For the Hurricanes
Tries: Moorby, Viljoen, Delany, Aumua, Lakai, Rayasi
Cons: Cameron 4
Pens: Cameron 2

Yellow cards: Harry Potter (Western Force, 2), Billy Proctor (Hurricanes, 39), Marley Pearce (Western Force, 51)

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Max Burey, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Nic White, 8 Will Harris, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Marley Pearce.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Charlie Hancock, 18 Tiaan Taukipulu, 19 Lopeti Faifua, 20 Tim Anstee, 21 Ollie Callan, 22 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 23 George Poolman.

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Jordi Viljoen, 8 Peter Lakai, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Pasilio Tosi, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numea.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Cam Roigard, 22 Riley Higgins, 23 Salesi Rayasi.

Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper, Jordan Kaminski

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