Super Rugby Aotearoa: Crusaders clinch home final with Blues beatdown

The Crusaders will defend their Super Rugby Aotearoa title against the Chiefs on home soil in a fortnight's time, after a 29-6 demolition of the Blues in Christchurch on Sunday.

Led by outstanding fullback Will Jordan - who ran in a brace of tries - the defending champions were imperious across the paddock, ramming home their opportunities with a four-try shut-out of their northern adversaries.

In contrast, the Blues let themselves down with errors and indiscipline at key moments, falling to their fourth loss in their past five games and officially out of contention for the title.

Meanwhile, the resurgent Chiefs' rollercoaster season takes yet another unlikely turn, as they travel to Christchurch for the May 8 final, where they'll to attempt to repeat their heroics from their round-eight triumph over the southerners.

The hosts opened the scoring after just five minutes, as stand-out fullback Will Jordan ran a superb line off a short ball from David Havili, beating some flimsy Blues defence to power his way to the line.

Blues No.8 Hoskins Sotutu looked as though he'd squared the ledger 10 minutes later, showing some nifty footwork to open up the line and to bolt 20m to the chalk. 

Sevu Reece runs in a try for the Crusaders.
Sevu Reece runs in a try for the Crusaders. Photo credit: Photosport

A try was awarded on-field, before replays showed an incredible desperation cover tackle from Jordan had prevented the ball grazing the chalk by a matter of millimetres, and the decision reversed.

In the 27th minute, the Crusaders extended their lead on the back of a sustained assault, with Richie Mo'unga cashing in on an overlap with a pinpoint long ball to Sevu Reece, who laid a heavy fend on Blues fullback Stephen Perofeta to finish in the corner.

After trading penalties to open the second half, Codie Taylor drove in another trademark try from a close-range lineout maul to extend his lead atop the competition's top try-scorers, taking his side out to a 22-6 advantage.

Jordan put the final nail in the coffin, chasing down a perfectly weighted Havili grubber for his second try to round out both a stellar individual and team performance.

The Crusaders now have the luxury of an extra week of rest and recovery heading into their title defence, with their bye in the final round of the competition.

The Chiefs may also look to rest some of their key players for their final round-robin match against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.

Crusaders 29 (Will Jordan 2, Sevu Reece, Codie Taylor tries; Richie Mo’unga 3 con, pen) Blues 6 (Otere Black 2 pen) HT: 12-0

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