May 19, 2017
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Crusaders overcome the Chiefs in Suva

The Crusaders maintained their unbeaten run in Super Rugby tonight by beating the Chiefs 31-24 in a thrilling encounter at Suva’s ANZ Stadium.

Watched by more than 15,000 fans at the Laucala Oval on a fine and cool evening with clear skies, the top two Kiwi teams had a lot in-store to display.

The Crusaders took a 6-0 lead midway in the first half with fly-half Richard Mo’unga kicking two penalties.

The Chiefs hit back with two tries through Tim Nanai Williams and James Lowe to grab a 10-6 lead.

Heiden Bidwell-Curtis scored the first Crusaders try in the 27th minute and a successful conversion by Mo’unga saw them regain a 13-10 lead. The referee had to seek assistance from the Technical Match Official (TMO) before awarding the try.

The Chiefs hit back two minutes later with Kane Hames scoring from a ruck situation. The try was awarded after the match referee sought assistance from the TMO.  And a successful conversion from fly-half Aaron Cruden gave the hosts a 17-13 lead.

The Chiefs headed to the break with a slender 17-13 lead.

Fijian flyer Setareki Tamanivalu led the Crusaders onslaught and set up their first try of the second half in the 47th minute with David Havilii diving in the corner.

Ben Funnell crashed over in the corner from a ruck to score the third try for the Crusaders and a successful conversion from Mo’unga extended their lead to 25-17.

Mounga added a successful penalty to give the Crusaders a 28-17 lead in the 68th minute but a try by Cruden three minutes later and an additional 2 points from Damien McKenzie narrowed the scores by only 4 points and made the last 8 minutes of the match exciting and entertaining as fans of both teams got to the edge of the seats.

Man of the Match Mo’unga nailed a penalty from 40m wide to seal the winner for the Crusaders in the 77th minute and the Sam Whitelock skippered side managed to sustain pressure from the Chiefs in the last minute and register their 12th straight win of the season.

More updates and interviews to follow…

By Reginald Chandar

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