The Crusaders scored 28 points in a dominant second-half performance to claim a 39-17 bonus-point victory over the Chiefs in Christchurch on Saturday.
Gameflow: In a tightly contested first half, the Chiefs opened up a 10-0 lead, with Damian McKenzie scoring all their points. However, from there it was all Crusaders, as the home side scored 39 points to take control of the game, before the Chiefs snatched a late consolation try.
Star performer: Richie Mo’unga ran the show in an attacking showcase for the Crusaders. The flyhalf made 59 metres from nine carries, beat nine defenders, made three clean breaks and scored 10 points.
Fantastic finish: Crusaders wing Leicester Fainga’anuku further enhanced his growing reputation as a deadly finisher with a spectacular try in the first half. The 21-year-old got the ball out wide after the Crusaders broke the defensive line and had plenty to do, with several Chiefs defenders closing the space ahead of him and forcing him into the corner. Despite the attentions of McKenzie, in particular, Fainga’anuku still managed to ground the ball before his foot grazed the grass. It was a finish worthy of being called one of the greatest ever.
Refereeing controversy: The game ultimately turned in the Crusaders’ favour when the home side was awarded a controversial penalty try. TMO Paul Williams was called to adjudge whether Mo’unga has passed the ball forward in the buildup to Fainga’anuku being held up over the line. However, Williams reasoned that Chiefs scrumhalf Brad Weber had influenced Mo’unga’s pass, despite him only touching Mo’unga’s arm and not the ball in the tackle. Weber was subsequently yellow-carded and a penalty try awarded as he was in an offside position when holding Fainga’anuku up over the tryline.
Photo: Getty Images