Crusaders stunned by Chiefs' second-half blitz

February 24, 2023 9:30 pm

[Source: 1News]

The Chiefs have announced themselves as a huge Super Rugby Pacific threat by scoring 24 second-half points to thrash the Crusaders 31-10 in Christchurch tonight.

The Chiefs, after a difficult first half in which they lost co-captain Sam Cane to a yellow card for what was adjudged as a cynical ruck offence, appeared to do it easily.

They went to the break 7-10 down after conceding an early try to David Havili but found some momentum late in the half via a try for Brodie Retallick and then simply went about their work with accuracy and continuity, denying the defending champions a single point in the second stanza.

Article continues after advertisement

Blackadder, yellow carded for a high tackle in the second half, had the dubious honour of being the first to have it reviewed for a possible red while he was on the sideline – a new initiative this year designed to speed the game up. The sanction remained a yellow.

The Chiefs, inspired by their continued attacking success, kept finding holes in the normally watertight home defence, Cane going over after an excellent 50-22 kick from McKenzie, Alex Nankivell scoring from a clever flick from Ioane, and replacement halfback Cortez Ratima, who showed pace and power to push off big wing Leicester Fainga’anuku.

This was a bonus point victory to savour for the Chiefs, who saw their dreams of making the finals last season crushed at this venue by the Crusaders in a semifinal.

The Crusaders, without 173-game veteran Sam Whitelock due to a head knock, have won six titles in a row since Robertson took over six years ago but they were comprehensively outplayed tonight.

Led by Retallick and McKenzie, auditioning to be Mo’unga’s replacement as All Blacks No.10, the Chiefs will be a tough proposition for any team this year, no matter the venue.

The only sour note for them was the departure of Anton Lienert-Brown in the second half due to an ankle injury.

Chiefs 31 (Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Nankivell, Cortez Ratima tries; Damian McKenzie 4 cons, pen)

Crusaders 10 (David Havili try; Richie Mo’unga dropped goal, con)

Halftime: Crusaders 10-7