Crusaders humiliate log-leading Chiefs
son rounds remaining, but could now be ousted from top spot in the conference if they fail to take a point from next week’s match against the Auckland Blues.
A slew of penalties against the Chiefs for breakdown infringements and Read’s deeply contentious first try helped the Crusaders take a 19-8 lead into the half-time break after a relatively competitive first spell.
All Black fullback Israel Dagg scored a try immediately after halftime and made Read’s second try three minutes later to turn what might have been a close match into a rout for the Crusaders. Dagg’s involvement ensured the Crusaders took the four-try bonus point they needed to keep their hopes alive of winning the conference.
The Chiefs were put on the back foot in the first-half when referee Jonathan White found persistent fault with their usually adept play in contact and in the loose. Carter kicked four penalties to put the Crusaders ahead 12-3 before Read scored under the crossbar on the tick of half-time.
Read dashed between the posts from an attacking scrum, but appeared to have been held up and White referred the decision on the try to the television official. Although repeated replays suggested Read failed to ground the ball, the television referee allowed the try and the Crusaders built a decisive halftime lead.
Dagg dashed into the backline from fullback to score a try immediately after the break, then made what seemed a forward pass to Read to give the Crusaders’ their third try and a dominating 31-8 lead after 46 minutes. Centre Ryan Crotty dived over in the right-hand corner in the 57th to secure the vital bonus point. Replacement Tyler Bleyendaal added the Crusaders’s fifth try, from an intercept, in stoppage time.
The Chiefs scored a first-half try through winger Asaeli Tokoirotuma, briefly cutting the Crusaders’ lead to 12-8. But their second try, to centre Charlie Ngatai, came in the 73rd when the Crusaders had built an impregnable 36-8 advantage.
“It was nice,” Read said. “We probably set a nice standard at the start of the game and we got a bit of flow on.
“It’s a win, but we know we have to come back again next week and do it again.” Scorers: CRUSADERS. Tries: Kieran Read (2), Israel Dagg, Ryan Crotty, Tyler Bleyendaal. Conversions: Dan Carter (3). Penalties: Carter (4) CHIEFS. Tries: Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Charlie Ngatai. Conversion: Andrew Horrell. Penalty: Aaron Cruden
BRACE YOURSELF: Kieran Read of the Crusaders leaps over a ruck during yesterday’s Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Christchurch. Read scored two tries as his side crushed the defending champions.
DYNAMITE: Heinrich Brüssow could line-up in a Super Rugby play-off game if the Cheetahs win today.