Fullback Will Jordan scored a try either side of halftime as the Canterbury Crusaders outlasted the Waikato Chiefs 18-13 in the Super Rugby Aotearoa at a rain-drenched Christchurch Stadium on Sunday.
The 10-time Super Rugby champions made the most of their few scoring opportunities and defended brilliantly to make it two wins out of two in the competition and move into sole second place in the standings, three points behind the Auckland Blues.
Warren Gatland’s Chiefs wrestled their way back from an 18-3 deficit but were left ruing a slew of untimely errors as they slumped to a third straight defeat in the all-New Zealand competition.
“Full credit to the Chiefs, they put us under a lot of pressure. I’m just stoked the boys got through,” said Crusaders captain Codie Taylor.
Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga kicked the first points of the match in the 11th minute, and although the Chiefs dominated the next quarter, they were able to come up with only one Damian McKenzie penalty in response.
Fullback McKenzie had looked lively in attack but misjudged a high kick just after the half-hour mark, allowing All Blacks winger Sevu Reece to race away and send Jordan in for his first try.
Mo’unga converted to give the Crusaders a 10-3 halftime lead. Jordan added his second try six minutes into the second half after a quick lineout throw from Reece caught the Chiefs napping.
A second Mo’unga penalty in the 61st minute extended the advantage to 18-3, an imposing lead for a team that last lost a home Super Rugby match four years ago.
Chiefs winger Sean Wainui finally breached the red defensive wall three minutes later for a converted try, however, and McKenzie slotted his second penalty to reduce the deficit to five points with 10 minutes to play.