Chiefs book home final
- 27 Jul 2013
The Chiefs beat the Crusaders 20-19 in Saturday's semi-final in Hamilton.
The result sees the Chiefs booking their place in the grand final next Saturday. Having finished at the top of the log, they have also earned the right to host this decider.
The Chiefs were typically aggressive with ball in hand, but unfortunately typically inaccurate at the lineout. The Crusaders had the edge at the set pieces, with Sam Whitelock proving especially effective in the contest for possession.
While Dan Carter kicked three penalties in the first half, he also missed an attempt either side of half-time. Indeed, the Crusaders botched a couple of scoring chances, although credit should also go to the Chiefs' defence.
By comparison, the Chiefs had few genuine opportunities. Aaron Cruden kicked one penalty goal in the first half and only lined up his second attempt in the 49th minute.
This served to galvanise the hosts and they went on to add seven points. They turned down a penalty goal, opting instead to set the lineout, and ultimately it paid off as Leila Masaga scored the game's first try.
The Crusaders mounted an assault on the Chiefs' line, but were denied by some excellent defence. The visitors continued to bash away until one careless pass was intercepted by Cruden, who sprinted clear for the try. With a successful conversion, the Chiefs had established a commanding 20-9 lead.
Israel Dagg kept the Crusaders' hopes alive with a superb solo effort, dancing down the right-hand touchline to score an important try. This time, Carter made no mistake, kicking a great conversion from the touchline to bring the Crusaders within four points.
Cruden missed a penalty attempt in the 71st minute, while his opposite number Carter landed one two minutes later, leaving the Crusaders trailing by just one with six minutes left to play.
Carter had the chance to win the game with a drop-goal, but his attempt drifted wide. The Chiefs then showed remarkable discipline and determination in the final minutes and did not allow the Crusaders another opportunity.
They thus ensured their progression to their second consecutive Super Rugby final.
Chiefs – Tries: Leila Masaga, Aaron Cruden. Conversions: Cruden (2). Penalties: Cruden (2).
Crusaders – Try: Israel Dagg. Conversion: Dan Carter. Penalties: Carter (4).
Chiefs – 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 August Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
Crusaders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Luke Whitelock, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Photo: Sandra Mu/Getty Images
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