Despite scoring four tries – through Bryn Hall, Israel Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu (2) – it was the hosts’ defence that starred as they again frustrated a team. They now wait to see whether they will be facing the Lions in Johannesburg or hosting the Hurricanes at this venue.
The Chiefs meanwhile can hold their heads high as against many other teams they would have won this game, with the Dave Rennie era coming to an end. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, James Lowe, Hika Elliot and Stephen Donald will also leave the franchise following this loss.
Travelling back from Cape Town didn’t affect the Chiefs early on as they enjoyed the majority of possession. In fact they had 70 percent of the ball in the first-half and were hugely unlucky not to be leading, with the Crusaders’ stingy defence helping keep their noses in front.
The Crusaders didn’t have any ball in the opening 10 minutes but strong tackling and organisation kept the Chiefs out before Mo’unga kicked over three points on 14 minutes, this after James Lowe had rushed up offside to stop an attack. The wing was lucky not to be yellow carded.
Those points lifted the home side and they made it 10-0 four minutes later when a slick attack down the left channel near halfway saw Matt Todd, Ryan Crotty and Dagg combine before the wing put the ball inside for scrum-half Hall for the run-in. Mo’unga added the extras.
Soon after though the Chiefs seemed hard done by when Lowe’s nice grubber through saw Tim Nanai-Williams dive on it over the whitewash. But the TMO felt the wing lost the ball while attempting to ground the ball so the try was chalked off in a controversial call in Christchurch.