Crusaders’ fortress stops Chiefs counting coup
THE Canterbury Crusaders had to fight hard to overcome Waikato Chiefs 24-13 in a thrilling final and retain the Super Rugby Aotearoa title at their Christchurch Stadium fortress yesterday.
Winger Sevu Reece and fullback Will Jordan scored tries in the first 16 minutes but thereafter the Crusaders reduced to 13 men in the second half with two men in the sin bin - had to rely on the boot of Richie Mo'unga to keep the Chiefs at bay.
The flyhalf kicked a conversion, three penalties and a drop goal and, just as importantly, banged the ball into the corners to keep the Chiefs in their own half late in the game.
"Tonight was an awesome effort, so proud of the boys," said captain Scott Barrett.
"We got down to 13 men there for a while, it was tough. We probably had to lift a little but Richie and the backs put us in the right area of the field and our defence did the rest."
The Crusaders have never lost a home post-season match, let alone a final, and the south island powerhouse claimed a fifth Super Rugby title in a row and a 12th in total.
The match was played in front of a packed house.