The Chiefs are off to a winning start in the 2016 Super Rugby competition after scoring a narrow victory over the Crusaders 27-21 in Christchurch.
Key performances by Damian McKenzie and Taleni Seu contributed to the win.
McKenzie scored his first try at Super Rugby level and also converted a kick from the sideline to put the Chiefs into the lead late in the game.
Returning to rugby, Aaron Cruden impressed, leading the Chiefs backline around the field while getting into a few scuffles with Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis.
On his debut, Shaun Stevenson scored in an individual moment of brilliance, but his season could be over after suffering what could be a serious shoulder injury early in the second half.
Also under the injury cloud is Tom Sanders who limped from the field.
The full story:
A dangerous Chiefs backline was completely neutralized in the opening 25-minutes, and any ball the Chiefs did have was kicked away quickly. The Crusaders held possession and managed to keep themselves deep in Chiefs territory, winning the crucial set-piece battle early on.
Damian McKenzie kicked the Chiefs first three points with a long-range kick from halfway.
Shaun Stevenson couldn’t believe his luck when he ripped the ball from the hands of Crusaders fullback and had a clear run to the tryline.
Down by 7-points, a massive shunt at the shunt saw Kieran Read find the ball in his hands. Read handed off to an unmarked Richie Mo’unga, and the Crusaders scored a crucial try on the hooter to put them back in the lead.
At halftime, the Crusaders led 13-8.
Seta Tamanivalu scored to put the Chiefs back in the lead after several phases of attack to kick off the second half.
Meanwhile, Chiefs youngster Shaun Stevenson left the field with what appeared to be a broken arm or serious shoulder injury.
David Havili made up for his earlier mistake on the night with a try in the corner, putting the Crusaders back into the lead, a lead that Mo’unga later extended to 6-points when the Chiefs were penalized for obstruction.
McKenzie scored his first Chiefs try, and put the Chiefs in the lead by successfully landing the conversion, making the score 22-21.
Referee Chris Pollock called a halt to play after Crusaders replacement Reed Prinsep Suffered a major concussion following a big head clash in the act of making a tackle. Prinsep’s head knock caused a lengthy delay to play as medics followed all protocols for such a serious injury.
Sam Cane scored from a lineout drive to put the icing on the cake, sealing victory in the 78th minute.
The Chiefs held on to win 27-21, and secured their first win of Super Rugby.
(David Havili, Richie Mo’unga 1 try, 3 pen)
(Shaun Stevenson, Seta Tamanivalu, Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden 1 con, Damian McKenzie 1 try, 1 con, 1 pen)