The Crusaders showed why they will always be title-contenders when they met the table-topping Chiefs in Hamilton, displaying experience and composure to secure victory in an intensely fought contest.
The home side came bolting out of the gate, but three points from the boot of Aaron Cruden was all they had to show for it. Momentum then swung to their guests, who promptly scored two tries.
The 20-16 scoreline at the break was indicative of a match which continue to see-saw, and individual brilliance from Sonny Bill Williams late in the second stanza gave the Waikato-based franchise a genuine sniff of the win.
But the Crusaders, with veteran campaigners such as Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Dan Carter all to the fore, hung on bravely and took the spoils, 28-21. In was an inaccurate performance from the Chiefs, with individual brilliance and x-factor keeping them in a game where their lineout and scrum were poor and certainly not befitting of the competitions’ top side.
The Crusaders face the Force next weekend in a difficult challenge against a side, which, while traditionally not a contender, is definitely a potential stumbling block, while the Chiefs meet the Hurricanes, a side fighting for their place in the playoffs.