Crusaders’ Leicester Faingaanuku scores a try despite Damian McKenzie of Chiefs. Source: Photosport/John Davidson/INPHO
A STUNNING FINISH for a first-half try by Leicester Fainga’anuku was the highlight as the Canterbury Crusaders continued their domination of Super Rugby Aotearoa today.
The Crusaders inflicted an unwanted title on a hapless Waikato Chiefs with a 39-17 victory in Christchurch.
The five-tries-to-one, bonus-point win, kept the unbeaten Crusaders at the top of the ladder with their third win from as many matches.
Fainga’anuku’s amazing acrobatic finish arrived in the 16th minute of the game for the first of their five tries.
But the Chiefs continued a losing streak that began last year to equal the record 11 consecutive defeats by a New Zealand Super side held by the 2012-13 Otago Highlanders.
The determination of the Chiefs to avoid another loss catapulted them to an early 10-point lead before they surrendered 39 unanswered points.
After slipping behind 11-10 they twice won turnover ball from a rampant Crusaders pack in the run-up to half-time, but the game finally slipped away from them with a disputed penalty try soon after the resumption.
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett put the secret to his side’s success down to their desire to run the ball.
“The easy thing is to kick it but we’ve seen teams holding the ball, building pressure more often than not come out on top so we’re looking to build phases, build pressure and hopefully points,” he said.
The Chiefs need to beat the Wellington Hurricanes next week to avoid holding the losing record outright, and captain Brad Weber voiced confidence they could do that.
“Never once in that game did anyone drop a lip or think we were out of it,” he said.
“The belief was always there and jeez we do a lot of good things in 80 minutes and we’ve just got to put more and more of them together and we’ll get a result.”
Will Jordan celebrates after scoring a try with Ardie Savea. Source: Photosport/John Davidson/INPHO
Damian McKenzie contributed all of the Chiefs’ early points with a converted try and a penalty.
The Crusaders struck back when utility David Havili set up Fainga’anuku who scored in the corner in the midst of a McKenzie tackle.