As it happened: Super Rugby - Crusaders vs Chiefs

The Crusaders and the Chiefs begin their 2018 campaign tonight in Christchurch.
The Crusaders and the Chiefs begin their 2018 campaign tonight in Christchurch. Photo credit: Getty

Crusaders 45  23 Chiefs

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With eight-minutes to go the Chiefs were trailing by three-points. A questionable TMO decision - given I don't know what the defender is supposed to do there when the player with the ball is so low - changed the game and the Crusaders jumped on a couple mistakes late to push the score out. Great game and the Chiefs will win more than they lose this year. Outstanding from the Champions - clinical and professional as always. Thanks for your company tonight.

Fulltime: Drummond clears the ball into touch after the Chiefs lose the ball again ... and the game is over. Crazy last 13 minutes.

77min: TRY CRUSADERS - Manasa Mataele : Chiefs don't deserve this but they are on the poor end of a hammering now ... Another intercept as Lienart-Brown gets picked off trying to create inside his own 22. Penalty try and resultung yellow card just six-minutes ago turned the game on it's head.

75min: TRY CRUSADERS - George Bridge : And that will seal the deal. McKenzie going for broke - throws a huge cutout pass but he misses his intended target and Bridge scoops it up and score unapposed under the post.

74min: Marty Mckenzie hurt here. Nasty knee to the head ... accidental ... Tamanivalu slips as McKenzie steps him but Mckenzie falls at the same time and crashes into the defender's knee ... ouch. McKenzie is coming off.

72min: PENALTY TRY CRUSADERS - Okay that's super rough for mine. Boshier is in the bin as the referee's believe a try would have been scored if the defender didn't tackle in that manner. But Crotty was as low as Boshier's hips ... rough. Very rough and what's more he gets binned for foul play. Can't see what he could have done anything different. This type of play will happen alot this year and will become a talking point as under the law it's a yellow everytime.

71min: The Crusaders with the maul...they are rolling. Well defended though. Crotty goes close in the corner but he is in touch. TMO wants to look at potential foul play - high tackle on Crotty. Could be a potential penalty try but that would be rough as Crotty was very low.

70min: Crusaders playing under advantage inside Chiefs territory. High tackle on Goodhue by McKenzie. Whitelock wants the lineout again! Take two.

68min: Crazy rugby from the Chiefs. McKenzie looking to run it out from his own line. Chiefs pinged at ruck time for sealing off the ball. Whitelock going for the killer blow. Lineout 5m out. Funnell over-throws it though! Chiefs clear.

67min: PENALTY GOAL CHIEFS - McKenzie bangs it over from 40m. Great kick right down the middle. Three-point ball game.

65min: Poor kick from Mo'unga and McKenzie breaks through from inside his own half on the counter. Great tackle from Bridge but the Crusaders are offside in midfield on the next phase and the McKenzie will look to close the gap.

TRY CRUSADERS: Sam Whitelock - Lovely break as mentioned - Two phases later Whitelock gets the ball 10m out and smashes his way through three tacklers to earn his side the lead bacl. Mo'unga adds the two.

62mins: Crusaders break. Drummind to Crotty to Goodhue and Goodhue is within 10m of the Chiefs line.

60mins: Chiefs working the ball upfield but Faauili loses the ball forward in contact just inside the Crusaders half. Scrun Crusaders.

59mins: Sam Cane brilliant at the takedown. Alaalatoa pinged for holding on and the Chiefs will clear to halfway and have the throw.

58min: Here they come. The Crusaders get the ball back from the kick-off and are slowly edging up the field through 11 phases ... 24m out.

56min: PENALTY GOAL CHIEFS - Damian McKenzie makes no mistake and the Chiefs have comeback from 16-points down to lead.

54min: Bridge loses the ball in midfield. Toed ahead by McKenzie. Havilli cleans it up and the Chiefs are pinged for diving in over the top. Quickly taken ... bad idea ... and the Crusaders turn the ball over. Penalty for the Chiefs 10m out for offside play and this will likely be a shot at the lead for McKenzie. What was Codie Taylor thinking with the quick tap? Ngatai leaves the field with an ankle injury. He was brilliant tonight.

51min: Hall with the up and under ... taken well by Stevenson. Ball bobbles around as he unloads to Ngatai .. knock on and here goes the Crusaders but Crotty can't hold on ... knock on both ways ... scrum Crusaders 25m out from the Chiefs line.

50min: Another huge scrum from the Crusaders! Brilliant and they earn another penalty. Chiefs scrum demolished twice in two minutes.

49min: Chiefs on attack. Ngatai breaks free, he has been superb ... he finds Stevenson who goes close ... he can't get there. Whitelock rips the ball free but Crockett dives on the ball in-goal and the Chiefs will have a 5m scrum.

48min: Statement scrum from the Crusaders. Smashed the Chiefs pack with that one and they earn a penalty. Lineout halfway but the Chiefs steal it. McKenzie with the kick down field .. Havilli cleans it up and finds touch on the 10m line. Net gain for the Chiefs.

47min: Mckenzie runs a great line from the scrum ... the Chiefs pivot fights through a few tackles but loses the ball in contact. scrum Crusaders on theor own 22. Scott Barrett on for Romano.

45min: Scrum on halfway for the Chiefs ... Todd knocked the ball on trying for a steal. Chiefs with the ball on the Crusaders 10m line.

43min: Chiefs go backwards as McKenzie can't nadle a Weber pass ... they start making progress again but Alaimalo loses it forward and the Crusaders will work it out from theor own 22. Kicked away by Bridge and Ngatai brings it back to halfway.

42min: Defensive penalty for the Chiefs. Taylor pinged for sealing off the ball at ruck time. McKenzie finds touch on the Crusaders 10m line.

Second-half: Mo'unga restarts the action. The Chiefs clear through McKenzie but he can't find touch and the Crusaders are rolling to start the half. 30m out.

HALFTIME: Half of two halves? - Crusaders spent close to 20 minutes with only 14-men on the park with two yellow cards handed out. The reigning champions looked on song early while the Chiefs struggled. But the the Sam Cane try eight-minutes from the break turned the game. Two-point ball game at the break ... another great 40 to come.

40min: TRY CHIEFS - Solomon Alaimalo - Chiefs playing great rugby now. Superb ball retention in the face of some brutal defence. The Chiefs went uber close on theree or four occasions and they have finally broken through. Alaimalo, whi has been impressive, breaks through the tackle of Crotty and crashes over close to the posts. Chiefs back in it as McKenzie converts.

39min: Solid scrum from the Chiefs. Playing under advantage again for another high tackle. Chiefs through 11 phases. Defence holding well. Ngatai goes close but is held up .... and the defence cracks!

38min: Midfield penalty for the Chiefs. Tamanivalu offside at the ruck. Cane keen for the scrum here and the Chiefs will go on attack 22m out from the Crusaders line.

36min: Up and under from Weber. Stevenson climbs and plucks it out of Bridge's hands ... kicks ahead but the ball bounces out 3m out from the Crusaders line. Mo'unga clears and the Chiefs have a lineout 30m out.

35min: Referee wants to have a look at a high tackle on MCkenzie from Alaalatoa. he will cop a yellow card here ... could have been worse to be honest. McKenzie was ducking but it was a brutal swining arm from the Crusaders prop. Penalty Chiefs and another 10m with 14-men for the Crusaders.

32min: TRY CHIEFS - Sam Cane - Wow! Superb. McKenzie with a great pass finds Cane running through a huge gap in midfield. Cane from 30m out sells the biggest dummy you will ever see on Bridge and he crashes over in a desperate tackle to get the Chiefs back in the game. McKenzie converts.

30min: TRY CRUSADERS - Jordan Taufua - The Chiefs have played awful rugby in the last 10 mins. Great phase rugby from the Crusaders ...16 in total. Retallick almost rips it clear from Romano but it goes forward. Crusaders shift it wide and Taufua is unmarked on the wing to score the red and blacks third try of the night.

28min: Another penalty for the Crusaders. Retallick this time ... couldn't roll away at the tackle. Whitelock asks Havilli to find touch this time and the 14-man Crusaders have another attacking lineout. 2m to Mo'unga returns.

26min: Over-thrown by Taylor and the Chiefs clear but the referee has found a strange penalty ... Laulala pinged for blocking one of the Crusaders runners. Havilli will have a shot 25m out and in front but he fluffs it and the Chiefs have a 22m drop out.

24min: Dominic Bird has left the field with a shoulder injury. Crusaders on the attack again deep inside Chiefs territory. Kick through from Hall but well cleaned up by McKenzie. Chiefs clear but only as far as the 10m line. Crusaders lineout. 

22min: Chiefs go close through McKenzie but he can't quite reach the line. Todd turns the ball over - as always - and the Crusaders clear. Retallick is pinged for a late tackle on Havilli and O'Keeffe warns San Cane that the next late tackle will result in a yellow card. Lineout for the Crusaders on the Chiefs 10m line.

19min: Chiefs break down field through a combination of Charlie Ngatai and Solomon Alaimalo but the Crusaders with some great cover defence - Havilli again. Mo'unga clears. Ngatai bursts through again on halfway and he almost goes all the way. Mo'unga with the tackle but he plays the ball on the ground and the Chiefs get a penalty. Yellow card for Richie Mo'unga for a professional foul. Chiefs go for the 5m scrum.

18min: PENALTY GOAL CHIEFS - McKenzie gives the Chiefs their first points of the night. 

16min: Chiefs go on attack 20m out with a lineout after a midfield penalty for offside. Playing under advantage again the Chiefs just 5m out but McKenzie knocks the ball on. Sam Cane opts to take the 3-points from right in front.

13min: TRY CRUSADERS - Richie Mo'unga: Mo'unga scores under the posts after McKenzie throws a wayward pass on halfway. the Crusaders pivot toes it ahead and collects a generous bounce to touch down. Crotty may have got a touch on it on the Mckenzie pass though. TMO says it came of the head of the No.12 so that's all good and the Crusaders extend their lead.

12min: Scrum penalty for the Chiefs. Crockett pinged for going to ground. McKenzie finds touch on halfway.

11min: Couple scrum resets here .. nothing happening. Mitch Brown won't retuen, he failed his head assesment test.

9min: Chiefs with a defensive lineout 20m out and it's over-thrown by Harris. Crusaders on attack. Mistake from Havilli but referee O'Keeffe was playing advantage as Messam knocked the ball on trying to strip Goodhue a couple phases earlier.

7min: McKenzie kicks it out on the full from the kick-off. Scrum halfway for the Crusaders.

5min: TRY CRUSADERS - Matt Todd: Goodhue busts through a tackle 10m out ... Crusaders rumbling forward and Todd crashes over from short range. Early try for the Champions. Messam on for the Chiefs - Mitch Brown off for a concussion test. Mo'unga can't convert.

4min: Crusaders earn a penalty from the lineout ... Crotty hit late after passing by McKenzie and the homeside has a lineout 20 metres out from the Chiefs line.

1min: McKenzie with the midfield break ... he puts Lienart-Brown away but great cover from Havilli ... resulting phase they blow a chance to take an early lead ... Johnny Faauli knocks on 2 metres out and the Crusaders have a clearing scrum.

Kick-off: Damian McKenzie gets the game underway ... Mo'unga cleas and we will have a lineout to the Chiefs on halfway.

7.34pm: Sam Cane leads out the visitors flanked by his co-captain Charlie Ngatai.

7.33pm: Okay not to far away from kick-off .... Luke Romano who is playing his 100th game for the Super Rugby champions leads the side out ... decent reception from a three-quarters full crowd. 

7.31pm: All Blacks galore on display tonight - 21 in total. This should be a high quality match given the great conditions.

7.28pm: In case you missed it: the Brumbies have staged a second-half comeback to top the Sunwolves 32-22 in Tokyo this afternoon.

7.25pm: No Kieran Read or Israel Dagg for the first few weeks of 2018 - but the depth in the Crusaders squad is scary  … will be interesting to see if the Crusaders back-row targets McKenzie and Weber - the new Chiefs 9/10 combo.

7.23pm: Scott Robertson very happy with how his team has prepared this week - he expects to be the hunted in 2018 and that will start tonight.

7.19pm: No late changes to report - teams are as advertised.

7.17pm: Evening everyone ... A gorgeous evening in Christchurch for this blockbuster clash on the opening weekend for the New Zealand franchises. Cool, sunny and not very windy.

Hello and welcome to live updates of the defending Super Rugby champion Crusaders hosting the Chiefs in a classic New Zealand derby.

The Crusaders look very strong on paper with the nucleus of the side that won the comp last year still in place.

As for the Chiefs - they are under a new head coach in Colin Cooper but much like the Crusaders, they have a great looking lineup … but 'on paper' has never won a game of rugby.

We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights at the end of the game (be sure to refresh your browser) and all the action. 

Commentary will start from around 7:20 pm (NZT).



15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Peter Samu, 5 Samuel Whitelock (C), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.


1. Aidan Ross, 2.Nathan Harris, 3.Nepo Laulala, 4.Brodie Retallick, 5.Dominic Bird, 6.Mitchell Brown, 7.Sam Cane (C), 8.Taleni Seu, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Damian McKenzie, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 12.Johnny Faauli, 13.Anton Lienert-Brown, 14.Shaun Stevenson, 15.Charlie Ngatai (C)

Replacements: 16. Liam Polwart, 17. Atunaisa Moli , 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Liam Messam , 20. Lachlan Boshier , 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi , 22. Marty McKenzie , 23. Sean Wainui

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant (New Zealand),
Assistant Ref 2:James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO : Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Previous results 
29 Jul 2017 Semi Crusaders v Chiefs 27-13 Christchurch
19 May 2017 Crusaders v Chiefs 31-24 Suva
01 Jul 2016 Crusaders v Chiefs 13-23 Suva
27 Feb 2016 Crusaders v Chiefs 21-27 Christchurch
17 Apr 2015 Crusaders v Chiefs 9-26 Christchurch