Crusaders survive Highlanders scare with 25-22 win

Waisake Naholo's effort went in vain for Highlanders
Waisake Naholo's effort went in vain for Highlanders

Crusaders 25-22 Highlanders, AMI Stadium

Replacement Mitch Hunt scored a penalty and a drop goal in the final five minutes as Crusaders maintained their winning streak in the tournament with a 25-22 triumph at AMI Stadium on Saturday.

Scrum-half Mitchell Drummond crossed over in the second minute to get Crusaders off the mark and Richie Mo'unga added the conversion to take them to a 7-0 lead which soon increased to 12 points following a touchdown from Seta Tamanivalu in the 14th minute.

Crusaders suffered a setback with a sin-bin to Heiden Bedwell-Curtis in the 24th minute and Highlanders capitalised on the advantage as Richard Buckman went past the line followed by a conversion and a penalty from Marty Banks.

Returning from sin-bin, Bedwell-Curtis straightaway created an impact with a try in the 37th minute as Crusaders went into half time with a nine point lead.

The game turned on its head when Waisake Naholo crossed over twice at the start of the second half as Highlanders went past Crusaders to gain a 19-22 lead and it remained intact until the final four minutes.

A 76th minute penalty kick from Hunt helped Crusaders level the scores and in the added minutes he kicked the decisive drop goal to seal a thrilling five point win for the home side.

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