Crusaders coach Scott Robertston is breathing a sigh of relief after his side survived a massive scare against the Queensland Reds on Friday night.
Despite being outscored four tries to three, the three-time defending Super Rugby walked away with a 24-20 win at Orangetheory Stadium.
The Brad Thorn-coached Reds have struggled this season, but they came very close handing the Crusaders their defeat on home soil in 34 games.
In the end, accuracy off the tee proved to be the difference - with Crusaders kicker Richie Mo'unga slotting all three conversions and a penalty, while Reds kickers Scott Malolua, Hunter Paisami, and Bryce Hegarty missed all their attempts at goal.
The results means the Crusaders are now 4-1 this season, while the Reds are 1-5, with three of their losses being less than a converted try.
"We know that teams come here with everything to gain. You're playing a championship-winning team, 'here we go, let's test ourselves', and they did that," said Robertson.
"You have to give it to the Reds, they were tough. They were tough, they had everything to gain and it showed with the energy and accuracy they played with.
"We'll take the result, but it was a tough one."
Crusaders playmaker Mo'unga admitted the conditions were tough which didn't help things, but he still praised the Reds for their fighting spirit.
"We do give [Australian teams] credit. I don't know people's perception or if the media doesn't give them the credit that's due, but we turned up tonight expecting this and that's what we got," Mo'unga said.
"Look, there was a lot of space out there but passes didn't go to hand, a lot of balls went to ground, which created errors and we were on the back foot and gave them a lot of pill.
"I think the intent is awesome, the boys want to play. You can't stop the lads from playing footy. I just think we've got to be a bit smarter and earn the right to do it."
The Crusaders now head to Brisbane to face the Sunwolves before back-to-back-to-back New Zealand derbies against the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Blues.
The game against the Sunwolves was due to take place in Tokyo but got relocated due to the coronavirus.
"The Sunwolves are like the Reds, they got nothing to lose," said Robertson.
"It has been an important two weeks for us, but it's important to keep the momentum going."
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