Live updates: Super Rugby Pacific - Crusaders v Chiefs from Christchurch's Orangetheory Stadium



80min - Chiefs win the scrum on the Crusaders' 5m with just seconds remaining. Stevenson loses the ball in contact, but it doesn't matter, and that's fulltime!

78min - Ioane finds more space up the middle, before firing a pass to Stevenson, but the ball spills forward and the Crusaders win the scrum on their own tryline.

76min - Crusaders find touch for an attacking lineout on the Chiefs 22m. Ball spills free but Crusaders do enough to contain it, before the Chiefs do this time turn it over.

72min - Crusaders showing much more urgency with the ball but Chiefs do well to turn it over and clear long, before Burke finds touch near halfway.


Chiefs' scrum finds extra metres, the ball comes to Ioane, he throws the dummy, before switching the ball back inside to Ratima, he throws the big fend and races over! Chiefs 31-10.

68min - Chiefs win the penalty after the Crusaders were penalised for not rolling away. McKenzie lines up the shot at goal and he slots it to extend his side's lead. Chiefs 24-10.

66min - Fainga'anuku tries the grubber but Nankivell intervenes and he's away! Tries to pop the offload from the ground but can't link up and Crusaders get it back.

64min - Crusaders with a rare opportunity in possession, as Barrett makes a run down the wing. McKenzie meets Fainga'anuku head on and makes a brave tackle.

62min - Stevenson is tackled well by Reece, but the Chiefs asking plenty of questions of the Crusaders' defence. Vaa'i makes a strong carry inside the 22m but Finau is penalised.


Chiefs turn down the shot and tap! It's a set-play, the pass falls short but Ioane shows great awareness to tap the ball on to Nankivell, he steps and he's over! Chiefs 21-10.

60min - Cane finds Nankivell with a great offload and the Chiefs are just short of the tryline! Crusaders do enough to disrupt the play but are penalised right in front.

Referee has asked TMO to check a potential foul play. Blackadder the guilty party, he's made contact with the player's head and he's shown a yellow card.

58min - Blackadder makes an outrageous steal, before the Crusaders switch left to Fainga'anuku but his grubber kick rolls into touch.    

56min - Stevenson beats a couple of players with clever footwork, before McKenzie goes high and Mo'unga does outstanding to beat his opposite and claim the catch.

54min - A game of forceback breaks out and it's Stevenson who wins the battle with a nice touch-finder inside the Crusaders' half. More changes by both teams.

52min - Crusaders win their own lineout, and the replacements are quickly getting into the thick of the action, but Vaa'i does so well to get over the ball and win the penalty.


McKenzie spots space, puts the kick ahead and nails the 50/22! Weber almost goes through a hole, before popping a short pass to a charging Cane and he's over! Chiefs 14-10.

48min - Chiefs looking very dangerous at the moment, as Stevenson finds Lienert-Brown with a good offload, but Barrett gets across and tackles him into touch.

46min - Chiefs opt for the attacking 5m lineout. Lienert-Brown tries the grubber but Havili takes it, allowing Mo'unga to clear. Not the right move you'd have to say from the Chiefs.

44min - Crusaders go long with the lineout throw to Blackadder and he crashes into contact. Chiefs do well to get over and turn the ball over before kicking long and winning the penalty.

42min - McKenzie gets the second half underway! Chiefs look to put pressure on the Crusaders' breakdown early but concede the penalty instead.


40min - Crusaders try a set-piece move from the scrum and Reece is in a bit of space down the right wing, but the cover defence close in and force him out, and that's halftime.

39min - Crusaders steal another lineout! Just a few metres out, but Rettalick gets over and forces the penalty turnover - he's had a monster half.

38min - Blackadder wins the lineout and now the Crusaders look to drive! They're over the line and the referee has asked the TMO! No try, as Taylor is penalised for disconnecting the maul.

36min - Chiefs penalised for being offside after McKenzie kicked long. Ross the guilty party, as Mo'unga finds touch about 10m out from the tryline.


Weber has a snipe and is tackled on the Crusaders 5m! Chiefs playing with the advantage, as Rettalick receives and he crashes over for the try! Crusaders 10-7.

33min - Stevenson makes a break! He's in space down the right, before putting a kick through but the Crusaders do well to get back and clear.

32min - Reece puts the step on and beats a couple. Mo'unga puts the high kick up but Stevenson is equal to it and takes it comfortably.

30min - Goodhue charges onto the long lineout throw. Crusaders just a few metres out, and Newell has a charge and he's over the line! But referee says he's been held up.

28min - Moody does well to hang on to Mo'unga pass. Ball spills free from the ruck and Chiefs claim it, before they switch left to Alaimalo and he kicks it out on the full. 

26min - Another Chiefs' throw can't find the jumper and the Crusaders turn it over. Both sides happy to clear their lines, before Ennor finally has a run.

24min - Chiefs win the penalty after a Crusader had his hands in the ruck.  McKenzie will have a shot at goal, but slices it and it's well short and wide. Mo'unga clears.


Crusaders turn down the easy shot at three and tap instead. They switch back to the right to Havili, he runs a great line and rides three tackles to reach out and dot down! Crusaders 10-0.

20min - Reece puts the kick through, Alaimalo wins the race but Ennor smashes him. Crusaders pile the pressure on, and Cane is penalised for offside and is shown yellow!

18min - Chiefs putting the phases together, as they rumble towards the tryline with their big forwards, but are penalised at the breakdown just a couple of metres out.

16min - McKenzie almost slips through but for a last-ditched tackle. Chiefs spread wide, grubber through but Havili does well to slide and take the ball into touch.

15min - Cane charges down a Reece grubber kick and suddenly the Chiefs are on attack just outside the opposition 22m but they're tackled into touch.

14min - Crusaders win another penalty, but the referee plays advantage. Mo'unga knows they have it and calmly slots the drop goal to give his side the lead. Crusaders 3-0.

12min - Rettalick charges down Mo'unga's kick but it falls favourly to a Crusaders support player, before the Chiefs are penalised for a neck-roll. Tempo is ramping up.

10min - Crusaders are penalised for hands in the ruck and McKenzie will have a shot at goal. Cullen Grace has been forced from the field with an injury. McKenzie, like Mo'unga, also misses.

8min - Chiefs get up to steal the Crusaders' lineout, before McKenzie tries the high kick, and Havili takes it nicely under heavy pressure. Chiefs do well to win the turnover though.

6min - Chiefs' put-in to the scrum, but the Crusaders' pack monster them to win the penalty. Mo'unga with an easy chance to put his side in front but misses! Chiefs clear.

4min - Fainga'anuku makes a great catch from an up-and-under, before the Crusaders locks combine well, but the referee calls them back for a forward pass.

2min - Mo'unga gets us underway with the kick off. Chiefs spread it wide quickly, before Stevenson kicks long and the Crusaders can only return up to their own 10m.

7:04pm - The Chiefs now making their way out. The rain has subsided, but conditions will still be very slippery. Should make for a cracker of a curtain-raiser though!

7:02pm - Welcome and thank you for joining us! Super Rugby is back! The defending champion Crusaders make their way out to a wet Orangetheory Stadium.


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific opener between the Crusaders and Chiefs from Christchurch's Orangetheory Stadium.

The reigning champion Crusaders will be looking to kickstart their bid for a record-extending 12th championship with victory at home tonight.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are out for revenge, after their title hopes were dashed by the Crusaders in the last season's semi-finals.

Their cause will be helped by the absence of Crusaders stars Sam Whitelock and Will Jordan, although the hosts will welcome back Ethan Blackadder and Jack Goodue, who missed most of last season with injuries.

The Chiefs will also welcome Damian McKenzie back at first-five in what will be his first Super Rugby start since 2021, having spent last year in Japan.

TAB odds: Crusaders $1.45, Chiefs $2.80


Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Fletcher Newell, 4-Scott Barrett (c), 5-Mitch Dunshea, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Mitch Drummond, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Baydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-David Havili

Replacements: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-George Bower, 18-Tamaiti Williams, 19-Zach Gallagher, 20-Christian Lio-Willie, 21-Fergus Burke, 22-Macca Springer

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3-George Dyer, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Tupou Vaa'i, 6-Pita Gus Sowakula, 7-Sam Cane (cc), 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber (cc), 10-Damian McKenzie, 11-Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 13-Alex Nankivell, 14-Solomon Alaimalo, 15-Shaun Stevenson

Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-John Ryan, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Samipeni Finau, 21-Cortez Ratima, 22-Josh Ioane, 23-Rameka Poihipi

'Great team man': David Havili steps up as Mr Fix-it fullback for Crusaders' opener

David Havili's utility value for the Crusaders will come to the fore - again - in this season's Super Rugby Pacific opener, with the All Blacks midfielder filling in at fullback when his team needs him.

After a Super Rugby career that's seen him scattered across the backline for coach Scott Robertson, Havili has found a home in the No.12 jersey in recent years.

Alongside Jack Goodhue and occasionally Braydon Ennor, Havili in midfield has been a key cog of the Crusaders' six titles in six years, and saw him recalled into the All Blacks in 2021 after starting his career at fullback.

But Will Jordan's continued absence due to an inner ear issue that's plagued him since the end of last year has left the Crusaders short at the back and Robertson has called on Havili as his replacement.

The 28-year-old has covered almost every position in the Crusaders' backline, meaning his coach has no concerns about switching him to start the new season.

David Havili.
David Havili. Photo credit: Photosport

"Dave's a great team man," said Robertson. "We asked him to go into fullback this week.

"We thought it was really important we get our best team on. He's a world class 12, been a world class 15, and even played on the wing for the Crusaders at the start.

"We know he can slot in anywhere. We just felt like this was the best team to play the Chiefs."

Robertson also hailed Havili's selflessness in switching to fullback, as he looks to impress All Blacks selectors as a No.12.

Midfield is one of the most competitive selection choices for All Blacks coach Ian Foster this year, and Havili's switch gives players like Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes, Anton Lienert-Brown of the Chiefs and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Blues the chance to push for higher honours.

But putting the team's needs above his own, to the gratitude of his coach.

"It was a good conversation," Robertson continued. "But in the end he knew it was the best thing for the team.

"He can slot back there so easily. That's just a reflection of him as a player, the quality of skill set and experience that he's got."