VIDEO: Controversial try helps Crusaders keep Chiefs winless
SUPER RUGBY AOTEAROA REPORT: The Chiefs still without a win in Super Rugby Aotearoa after they slumped to a 19-32 defeat to the Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday.
The visitors outscored their opponents by five tries to one in the match for a bonus-point win after they suffered their first defeat in the competition against the Hurricanes last week.
The result means the Chiefs’ losing streak now stands at eight matches, which is a team record.
Despite the try count, the Chiefs were still well in the game before a controversial Sevu Reece try on the 60-minute mark proved to be a game-changer.
The Crusaders started the match in blockbuster fashion in the seventh minute when the ball was spread wide with some slick hands to No.8 Tom Sanders who sprinted downfield for the game’s first try. Mo’únga was unsuccessful with the conversion.
It was unrelenting pressure from the visitors and they were in again the 14th minute when fullback Will Jordan ran in for an easy try after several phases in the Chiefs’ 22.
This time Mo’unga was successful with the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
The Chiefs finally got onto the board in the 22nd minute when Lachlan Boshier crashed over the Crusaders’ tryline after some good interplay from a scrum inside the visitors’ 22. Damian McKenzie added the extra two points with the conversion.
The Crusaders’ lead was then reduced to two points when McKenzie converted a penalty into three points.
The home side then received a big blow a minute before half-time when Shaun Stevenson was yellow-carded for a deliberate knockdown.
With the clock winding down to half-time, the Crusaders took advantage of the penalty to set up a line-out deep inside the Chiefs 22, which resulted in a powerful driving maul with Codie Taylor crossing the tryline for his team’s third try.
At half-time, it was 17-10 to the Crusaders.
It was the Chiefs who opened the scoring in the second half with McKenzie slotting a penalty in the 43rd minute.
It became a one-point ball game in the 50th minute with McKenzie adding another three three-pointer to his team’s tally before the Crusaders wiped it with a penalty of their own straight after the restart.
McKenzie added another penalty before the Crusaders put some breathing space between the Chiefs and themselves with what could be a controversial try.
With Quinten Strange running towards the Chiefs’ tryline, he lost control of the ball before Reece picked up the loose ball to run in for a try. On first glance, it looked like the ball was lost forward but referee Ben O’Keeffe ruled that it went backwards, and the try was allowed.
The Crusaders extended their lead in the 67th minute when Leicester Fainga’anuku was put into space down the blindside by Mo’unga from a scrum to sprint in for a try.
With 12 minutes left it was 32-19 to the Crusaders.
The Chiefs tried desperately to get back into the game, but they could not crack a strong Crusaders defence in the final 10 minutes.
Man of the match: Will Jordan was a constant threat out wide, while captain Codie Taylor was a hard man to bring down. However, the award goes to Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga who caused the Chiefs plenty of problems with his attacking play and vision in the backline.
Pens: McKenzie 4
Tries: Sanders, Jordan, Taylor, Reece, Fainga’anuku
Cons: Mo’unga 2
Yellow card: Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs, 14 – cynical play, deliberate knockdown)
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Reuben O’Neill.
Replacements: 16 Samison Taukei’aho, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Quinn Tupaea.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Richard Kelly
TMO: Glenn Newman