Match Centre: Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders 37-26 Chiefs

Sevu Reece was part of the winning Crusaders side
Sevu Reece was part of the winning Crusaders side
©Steve Haag

Crusaders 37-26 Chiefs, Apollo Projects Stadium

Crusaders have managed to end their losing streak as they defeated Chiefs with a 37-26 margin in the latest round of the Super Rugby Pacific at Apollo Projects Stadium on Friday.

This is the first win for Crusaders in the ongoing campaign since Rob Penney took over as head coach from Scott Robertson but they continue to remain at the 11th position while Chiefs are at second place after losing their second game in six matches.

Crusaders had a late change to the game with Noah Hotham replacing Mitch Drummond in the playing XV with Willi Heinz joining the reserves. They got off to a promising start as Sevu Reece collected the ball at the base of a breakdown sending it to Hotham, who sent a perfectly weighed kick for Chay Fihaki to touchdown but Riley Hohepa missed out on the conversion.

Penney's men looked upbeat as Johnny McNicholl showed great skills to go over after quick hands from Levi Aumua but this time Hohepa got the conversion right to make it 12-0 before Hotham looked good for their third try but was dragged to the touch.

Chiefs eventually struck bac in the 17th minute when Shaun Stevenson offloaded for Emoni Narawa to dot down but his effort was cancelled out when George Bell and McNicholl combined to send Cullen Grace over in the 24th minute making the scoreline 19-5 in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Chiefs struck back with Etene Nanai-Seturo setting up George Dyer over the line and Josh Jacomb improved to make it 19-12 before an infringement from Anton Lienert-Brown allowed Hohepa to kick a penalty goal from a 20 m distance to ensure Crusaders finished the opening half with a 10 point lead.

The bonus point for Crusaders came early in the second half as Bell collected a 35m pass and showed great pace to touchdown in the corner before Lienert-Brown sliced through in the 58th minute to make it 27-19 as the game headed into the final quarter.

The 63rd minute saw Quinn Tupaea sending a pass to Josh Ioane, which was intercepted by McNicholl, who ran 80 m to score his second try in the game which proved enough despite Chiefs managed to get their fourth try in the 70th minute with a try from Cortez Ratima as Penney's men completed a much-needed victory.

Team line up:

Crusaders XV: George Bower, George Bell, Fletcher Newell, Quinten Strange, Jamie Hannah, Corey Kellow, Tom Christie, Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham, Riley Hohepa, Johnny McNicholl, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki

Reserves: James Mullen, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Owen Franks, Dominic Gardiner, Fletcher Anderson, Will Heinz, Rivez Reihana, Macca Springer

Chiefs XV: Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho, George Dyer, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Josh Lord, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Kaylum Boshier, Luke Jacobson (c), Xavier Roe, Josh Jacomb, Etene Nanai Seturo, Quinn Tupaea, Anton Lienert-Brown, Emoni Narawa, Shaun Stevenson

Reserves: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Reuben O'Neill, Jimmy Tupou, Simon Parker, Cortez Ratima, Josh Ioane, Daniel Rona