Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Fihaki scores as Crusaders end win-less run

Fullback Chay Fihaki, who has links to Fiji, scored the opening try as defending champions, the Crusaders defeated the Chiefs 37-26 at home to post their first win of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The hosts threw off the shackles to open an early 12-0 lead with rapid-fire tries by Fihaki and Wales international McNicholl.

They first scored when scrum-half Noah Hotham darted down the blindside from a breakdown before Fihaki sprinted onto his perfectly-timed chip, then McNicholl crossed untouched after a quick ball from a ruck.

The Chiefs pulled one back in the 17th minute when they turned over the ball and winger Emoni Narawa took a cut out pass to cross over.

The Crusaders hit back, claiming their third try inside the first 23 minutes when loose forward Cullen Grace crossed out wide.

lyhalf Riley Hohepa converted from the touchline to put the Crusaders 19-5 up.

Late in an electric first-half, Chiefs playmaker Josh Jacomb found a gap in the defence before prop George Dyer crashed over for a converted try to make it 22-12 at the break after Hohepa had slotted another penalty.

The second-half was more even with both sides scoring two tries.

The Crusaders extended their lead when hooker George Bell hit the gas to beat Jacomb in the corner.

Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown barrelled over for a converted try making it 27-19 with an hour gone.

Man of the Match, McNicholl grabbed his second try when he picked off a loose Josh Ioane pass in midfield to sprint over from 80 metres.

The Chiefs pegged the Crusaders back to 34-26 inside the final ten minutes when scrum-half Cortez Ratima darted over for a late converted try after full-back Shaun Stevenson chipped the ball behind the defence.

The Crusaders held on as replacement back Rivez Reihana slotted a penalty two minutes from the  final whistle to seal the morale boosting win.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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