App users click here for latest updates
Crusaders 24 Chiefs 13
Crusaders - Reece & Jordan tries; Mo'unga drop goal, conversion & 3 penalties
Chiefs - McKenzie try, conversion & 2 penalties
40th minute - Crusaders win the scrum and a clearing penalty. Coach Scott Robertson heads to the sideline for his breakdance celebration.
The siren goes, but there's one last lineout - Crusaders feed. They win the throw and Hall kicks to touch.
Well done, Crusaders - that's your five-peat!
39th minute - From the lineout, the ball goes right, but the Chiefs get tangled and are offside, as they try to conjure up a late score.
38th minute - Tiatia runs onto a pass and breaks towards halfway. Crusaders are deemed offside and McKenzie must kick to touch.
37th minute - Crusaders steal the ball on halfway and Havili kicks to the corner, but overcooks it.
36th minute - Taylor is replaced by McAlister.
35th minute - Mo'unga kicks deep from the penalty and Tiatia tries to counterattack, but is tackled (by Mo'unga) and doesn't release. Mo'unga soaks up some time with a shot at goal and slots it, Crusaders 24-13
34th minute - Crusaders win a penalty from their defensive scrum and will clear.
33rd minute - McKenzie darts left and finds ALB, but the ball is knocked on and a Chiefs player recovers it from offside.
32nd minute - Dunshea replaces Grace, so Barrett will move from lock into the loose forwards.
McKenzie kicks high, Jordan is safe, but his pass to Ennor is loose.
31st minute - Heavy rain now, as the Crusaders seek to extend their lead. Havili puts up a high kick, but a streaker has invaded the pitch and O'Keeffe halts play.
30th minute - Weber is off for good now, replaced by Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
29th minute - Mo'unga slots the penalty to extend the lead, Chiefs now need to score twice. Crusaders 21-13
28th minute - Crusaders win a penalty for offside and Mo'unga will burn up some time with a kick at goal. If he's successful, it will put them more than a converted try ahead.
27th minute - Crusaders win an attacking lineout and maul towards the 22.
26th minute - Hall is penalised for running interference for Bridge. McKenzie kicks deep into the Crusaders half.
Chiefs win the lineout, but Blackadder gets over the ball and wins a relieving penalty.
Bower is replaced by Williams at prop for the Crusaders, Kapeli replaces Boshier for the Chiefs and Poihipi is on for Nankivell.
Blackadder is having a dislocated finger snapped back into place - ouch!
25th minute - From the kickoff, Mo'unga kicks on an angle and finds touch on the Chiefs 22. It's raining now, but Crusaders fans sense their team is coming home.
24th minute - Crusaders are pouring onto attack and win a penalty advantage, but Mo'unga kicks his first-ever Super Rugby drop goal to extend the lead, Crusaders 18-13
23rd minute - Whetu Douglas replaces Sanders, who won't return from his enforced sideline stint.
Mafileo replaces Ta'avao in the Chiefs front row.
Chiefs are still a man up, but Mo'unga fields a McKenzie kick and makes a break up the left touchline.
22nd minute - Chiefs lose control of a defensive scrum on their 22, but win a clearing penalty. Boshier is the man who saved the day, but he's in pain with a knee injury.
Multiple replacements for each team, with Braydon Ennor returning for the Chiefs. Taylor's sin-binning is about to end and Oli Jager is injected into the front row.
20th minute - Crusaders maul towards the Chiefs 22 from a lineout, but can't release - turnover to the Chiefs.
19th minute - McKenzie finally finds his target and brings the Chiefs within two points, Crusaders 15-13
18th minute - Replays show Reece hit Tiatia high and video official insists it's directly to the head - it looked marginal though.
Reece cops a yellow card and the Crusaders are two men short for the next five minutes.
17th minute - Chiefs attack breaks down, but they win a penalty. Decision time for Weber and McKenzie, do they kick for goal?
Weber lodges a captain's challenge for foul play by Reece on Tiatia, seeking to reduce the Crusaders to 13 men.
16th minute - Chiefs tries to launch an attack, ALB finds Lowe with a long pass and the winger chips ahead, escorted into touch by Jordan.
15th minute - Ollie Norris replaces Aidan Ross in the Chiefs front row.
Havili kicks deep, but too deep, as the ball dribbles dead. Chiefs have a scrum inside Crusaders half and the champions must bring on a replacement hooker, sending Sanders to the sideline.
14th minute - McKenzie lines up another penalty, but misses again. That three misses tonight for the guy that has kicked them to victory so many times this season.
13th minute - Jacobson runs the ball of the back of a scrum and earns a relieving penalty for hte Chiefs. Hall replaces Drummond.
Chiefs throw long to the lineout and McKenzie leaps to catch the ball, but is taken out in midair by Codie Taylor - what was the hooker even doing there?
Taylor is shown a yellow card and apologises to his All Blacks teammate - big moment in the game.
12th minute - Bryn Hall preparing to replace Drummond at halfback for Crusaders.
11th minute - Crusaders win the lineout and take the ball to halfway, Mo'ung kicks high, and Jordan chases and catches. Mo'unga knocks on to end the attack.
Ninth minute - Tiatia chips ahead and regathers inside the 22, Jacobson takes the ball within metres of the line, but Crusaders win a clearing penalty.
Eighth minute - Crusaders building an attack on halfway, Lowe intercepts, but is dragged down quickly by the defence.
Seventh minute - McKenzie makes a half break, but when he looks for support, he finds only Reece.
Sixth minute - Mo'unga breaks upfield, but Tiatia turns the ball over in the tackle and the Crusaders have an defensive lineout 10m out from their goal-line.
Fifth minute - Chiefs make an important tactical change - Tiatia replaces Gatland, with McKenzie moving ot first-five.
Fourth minute - McKenzie takes another shot at the posts, but leaves it to the right. Not a great time to lose his kicking touch.
Third minute - Chiefs are building phases outside the 22 and win a penalty out in front of the posts.
Second minute - From the goal-line dropout, McKenzie fields the ball deep in his own half and makes good ground over halfway.
First minute - Ah Kuoi has replaced Mitch Brown at lock for the Chiefs, whose lineout has been pretty terrible so far.
Gatland kicks off and Grace charges forward.
When the back returns to the Chiefs Lienert-Brown chips to the goal-line and the Crusaders scramble the ball dead.
40th minute +1 - McKenzie kicks for goal, but hooks it. Halftime arrives with Crusaders leading 15-10.
40th minute - Chiefs building phases in the Crusaders half and under penalty advantage. Gatland throws an ambitious behind-the-back pass that goes nowhere, but O'Keeffe calls them back for the penalty.
Barrett lodges a captain's challenge for potential foul play. Attention seems to be on Sowakula's entry to a breakdown, but there's nothing to see - except maybe Reece colliding with the head of Jordan.
39th minute - McKenzie kicks high and Reece takes it well - he's been solid this half.
38th minute - From the kickoff, Reece receives the ball and a high tackle from Nanai-Seturo, who is penalised.
37th minute - Mo'unga lines up a kick for the posts and slots it, Crusaders 15-10
36th minute - Reece puts a little kick over the defensive line, but it's knocked on by the pursuers. O'Keeffe brings them back for a penalty.
35th minute - Reece hack the ball downfield, but the Chiefs control and clear. Mo'unga counterattacks and the Crusaders build phases.
They win a penalty advantage.
34th minute - Chiefs win the lineout, but are driven back. The Crusaders have held the ball up and will win the scrum feed from the maul.
Grace bobbles the ball at the back of the scrum and Mo'unga clears his own line, but not to touch.
33rd minute - McKenzie has the ball inside the 22 and finds Lowe on the right touchline. He lunges at the goal-line, but Jordan's tackle brings him down just short and the ball bounces into touch.
Jordan is penalised for a high tackle and the Chiefs take an attacking lineout.
32nd minute - Crusaders dominate the scrum, but Weber steals the ball and Chiefs clear their 22. Gatland dashes up field, as the Chiefs go on attack.
31st minute - Drummond feeds a scrum inside the 22, but it collapses and is reset.
30th minute - Crusaders trying to build an attack outside the 22 and Chiefs eventually knock on.
29th minute - Officials are looking at the big screen and will penalise Nanai-Seturo for a high tackle on Jordan.
Mo'unga kicks for touch and an attacking lineout.
28th minute - Crusaders steal another lineout and clear. Nanai-Seturo returns the favour and forces the Crusaders to exit again. They knock on in their own half.
27th minute - Chiefs win lineout at second attempt, but as they move the ball, Havili intercepts and is called back, with one of his forwards called for incorrect entry to a breakdown.
Gatland kicks towards the 22.
26th minute - Weber returns, with the Chiefs feeding a lineout on halfway.
24th minute - Mo'unga makes a break and finds Fainga'anuku on his shoulder. Mo'unga kicks towards the left corner, and McKenzie and Jordan race for the ball, which bounces cruelly and Jordan is eventually put into touch.
23rd minute - Crusaders have a scrum feed inside the Chiefs half. Weber has passed his HIA and will return to the game.
20th minute - Try to McKenzie
Chiefs put 13 men into the lineout and win the throw, but they're mauled backwards. When the ball comes, it's moved right, whee Nankivell takes a half-gap and flickes a long backhanded pass for McKenzie to score in the corner. McKenzie brings his conversion back between the posts, Crusaders 12-10
18th minute - From the kickoff, Crusaders keep the ball in hand, but concede a penalty just inside their own half. Gatland kicks to the corner - perfectly.
16th minute - Try to Jordan
Fainga'anuku carries a couple of tacklers towards the Chiefs 22 and when the ball emerges, it moves left, where Havili kicks towards the line and Jordan gathers to score. Mo'unga misses the conversion, Crusaders 12-3
15th minute - McKenzie slots the penalty to put the Chiefs on the board, Crusaders 7-3.
14th minute - Chiefs are driving towards the Crusaders line and eventually win a penalty for offside on Whitelock.
As McKenzie lines up the posts, Weber leaves for a head injury assessment, replaced by Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
11th minute - Whitelock steals the Chiefs lineout throw and Drummond kicks high. Gatland returns the favour towards Jordan, who is flattened in a three-man tackle, but Fainga'anuku runs over the top of Weber.
10th minute - From the kickoff, Crusaders regain possession and Mo'unga kicks behind the Chiefs defence - out on the full. Mitch Brown receives medical attention.
Seventh minute - Try to Reece
Whitelock wins the lineout, Fainga'anuku makes a bust towards the posts and the forwards rumble towards the line. When the ball emerges, it's moved quickly to Reece, who stands up marker McKenzie and lunges at the line.
Replays show he plants the ball on the line, so the try is awarded. Mo'unga converts from the sideline, Crusaders 7-0
Sixth minute - Crusaders into Chiefs territory, but are brought back for offside advantage. Mo'unga kicks to the corner.
Fifth minute - Chiefs scrum in their own 22, trying to clear and Nanai-Seturo kicks long into the Crusaders 22.
Fourth minute - Blackadder intercepts the ball and Reece scampers down the right touchline, but Drummond loses it forward in the tackle.
Second minute - Weber feds to the scrum and he clears under pressure. Chiefs mount an attack, throwing the ball right along the backline.
First minute - Ben O'Keeffe will referee tonight's big game.
Riie Mo'unga kicks off for the Crusaders, caught by Leinert-Brown and the Chiefs exit through the boot of Gatland.
First lineout won by Grace, but Havili's pass inside to Bridge is ruled forward.
6:59pm - BREAKING NEWS: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made a late change to his starting line-up, with Tom Sanders taking the No.7 jersey off Sione Havili Talitui, who has dropped out of the playing side.
Whetu Douglas comes onto the bench, with Havaili Talitui unfortunately suffering a head knock during warm-ups.
6:43pm - Newshub's Ollie Ritchie reports from pitchside that weather conditions are perfect for tonight's clash before a sold-out Orangetheory Stadium.
Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Super Rugby Aotearoa between defending champions Crusaders and underdogs Chiefs in Christchurch.
At the start of the season, you would have found pretty long odds on the Chiefs making the championship game, let alone winning the title. They had finished bottom of the inaugural 2020 competition, riding a nine-game losing streak that dated back to pre-COVID-19 play.
After opening the current campaign with two more defeats, they stared down a piece of unwanted history - the longest losing run ever by an NZ Super Rugby side.
Victory over the Hurricanes staved off that ignominy and a five-game winning run was enough to propel them past the Blues (and the Highlanders and Hurricanes) into the final.
Moreover, they have achieved this without incumbent coach Warren Gatland (on British & Irish Lions duty) and injured All Blacks captain Sam Cane.
One of those victories came against the Crusaders, who have wobbled slightly through this year's schedule, also losing to southern neighbours Highlanders.
After three straight Super Rugby titles and last year's Aotearoa honours - albeit achieved without a Grand Final - they have lost key personnel to injury, namely prop Joe Moody, midfield Jack Goodhue and flanker Tom Christie.
Centre Braydon Ennor also missed the regular season, but will return from a knee injury for a spot on the bench for the final.
Their season has been distracted by speculation over the future of coach Scott Robertson, who has achieved everything possible in Super Rugby, but has missed out on the All Blacks job and must be eyeing opportunities abroad.
Crusaders: 1-George Bower, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Michael Alaalatoa, 4-Scott Barrett, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Sione Havili Talitui, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Mitchell Drummond, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 11-George Bridge, 12-David Havili, 13-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Will Jordan
Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Oliver Jager, 19-Mitchell Dunshea, 20-Tom Sanders, 21-Bryn Hall, 22-Dallas McLeod, 23-Braydon Ennor
Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3-Angus Ta'avao, 4-Tupou Vaa'i, 5-Mitchell Brown, 6-Pita Gus Sowakula, 7-Lachlan Boshier, 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Bryn Gatland, 11-Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12-Alex Nankivell, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 14-Jonah Lowe, 15-Damian McKenzie
Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-Sione Mafileo, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Zane Kapeli, 21-Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22-Rameka Poihipi, 23-Chase Tiatia
TAB odds: Crusaders $1.22, Chiefs $3.90
More to come
The mind games have started in the lead-up to Saturday's Super Rugby Aotearoa title decider.
Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan insists all the pressure is on defending champions Crusaders, who are looking to make it five titles in a row, while his team look to go from last to first in 12 months.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is unperturbed, embracing the challenge of another finale.
"Finals are special," Robertson says. "They're unique and we never take them for granted."
But the Chiefs are keeping things low key, believing they have already exceeded public expectations just by making the final week of the tournament.
But McMillan has thrown out the challenge to the Crusaders, pointing to the internal pressure the red-and-blacks have on them to win again.
"There's pressure [on us] in terms of playing a final, but we know that there's more on them than is on us," he says.
That's water off a duck's back for Robertson, who is unbeaten in Super Rugby finals, while his team are 24-0 at home in playoff matches.
"That's a good mindset from them [Chiefs] if they want to go that way," Robertson says. "Finals are about pressure and you've got to perform in those moments, so I can understand what angle [McMillan] is coming from."
The addition of All Blacks midfielder Braydon Ennor will help ease the nerves for the Crusaders coach.
After a nine-month injury layoff, Ennor will start on the bench on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old has been out since September, after rupturing the ACL in his right knee, but after two club games, Ennor is good to go.
"It got to the point where I was begging the physios to let me play some footy," Ennor says. "I played some good games for my club and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a run-around."
That the Crusaders have the luxury of bringing Ennor off the bench speaks to their depth. It's at the heart of their four-year title run, but Robertson knows they need more than that to seal a historic fifth.
"Experience counts, but it's still on the night.
"We know that at 7:05pm, we need to be at our best."