Crusaders take rare chances to extend home run to 35

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 29 Jun 2020

Auckland Blues and Canterbury Crusaders remain the only unbeaten teams in New Zealand's Super Rugby competition after the Crusaders won their grudge match against the Waikato Chiefs 18-13 in Christchurch yesterday.

In wet, greasy conditions, Will Jordan scored twice for the Crusaders to give them two wins from two matches and extended their unbeaten home record to 35.

The Blues, who have played an extra game, notched their third win on Saturday when they held off a hard-finishing Otago Highlanders 27-24.

The Chiefs have now lost three from three, the Wellington Hurricanes have lost two from two and the Otago Highlanders have a win and a loss.

It was a battle of attrition in Christchurch with the tone set midweek when Crusaders prop Joe Moody talked of a "deep-seated hatred" of the Chiefs, which gave visiting coach Warran Gatland all the ammunition he needed for his pre-match pep talk.

With the constant rain forcing handling errors and dictating a bruising forward clash with lots of kicking by the backs, the result came down to the Crusaders capitalizing on the two opportunities that went their way.

"There wasn't much between the two sides and credit to the Crusaders, a couple of opportunistic tries, and a couple of moments can really swing a game," Cane said.

The Chiefs, who beat the Crusaders earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to global sport, could claim to have had the better of the first half territorially.

But they could not break the Crusaders defense and their sole reward was a Damian McKenzie penalty.

The Chiefs bagged 10 points early in the final quarter with a converted try to Sean Wainui and another McKenzie penalty but could not find a way through the Crusaders in the closing 10 minutes.

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