The Crusaders have defeated the Chiefs 25-20 in a thrilling Super Rugby Pacific final, securing their fifth straight championship.
The match showcased an intense battle between the two sides, with the outcome uncertain until the final minutes.
The Crusaders’ hooker, Codie Taylor, played a pivotal role, scoring two tries from lineout drives, including the decisive try in the 72nd minute, which gave his team a 22-15 lead. Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, in his last match for the Crusaders before departing to play in Japan, converted the try and sealed the win with a crucial penalty kick in the closing minute.
The Chiefs, who had a remarkable season with a club-record 15 wins out of 16 matches, displayed resilience and took the lead in the second half through a try by Emoni Narawa. However, the Crusaders fought back, breaking through the Chiefs’ determined defense with Taylor’s try, ultimately securing the victory.
The match was not without controversy, as several decisions, including a disallowed try for the Chiefs and contentious calls in favor of the Crusaders, sparked debates among fans and experts.
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett acknowledged the Chiefs’ strength and resilience, emphasizing the challenging nature of the game. The Crusaders’ victory was even more impressive considering the Chiefs’ stellar performance throughout the season.
The win is the Crusaders 12th super rugby title.