Chiefs hold out against a spirited Crusaders side to remain top
By Ben Hampshire. Last Updated: 25/05/13 11:01am
The Chiefs ran in three tries as they edged their way to a 28-19 victory against the Crusaders in a fiercely contested encounter on Friday.
The visitors made good territory early on and took the lead when Tom Taylor successfully kicked a penalty in the fifth minute.
Chiefs soon found their way back into the game when Aaron Cruden chased down a kick deep into his own territory and raced home to score the opening try of the match before converting for himself.
A line-out midway through the first period allowed the Crusaders to regain the advantage when flanker Matt Todd drove over the line before Taylor sealed the conversion.
A penalty kick from Cruden drew scores level before second row Craig Clarke charged down Taylor's kick and powered over the line to score the Chiefs second try of the match as they amassed a slender 15-13 lead at the interval.
Both sides started the second period with great intensity but the Chiefs conceded an early penalty which allowed Taylor to put the Crusaders back in charge once again.
Cruden's third successful penalty put the Chiefs within a point as they continued to press into the Crusaders territory.
The momentum paid off shortly after with Lelia Masaga's pass finding Bundee Aki who sliced through the Crusaders defence to recapture the lead taking the scores to 25-19 in favour of the hosts.
With a six-point advantage the Chiefs held the ball in the middle of the park for the remaining ten minutes before Cruden kicked another penalty just before the siren to seal the victory.
The win sees the Chiefs retain their place at the head of the Super Rugby standings with the chasing Bulls and Brumbies both in action on Saturday.