7 Jul 2012

Crusaders fend off Chiefs to keep post-season hopes alive

1:32 pm on 7 July 2012

The Crusaders kept their Super Rugby playoff hopes alive with a tension-charged 28-21 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.

The Crusaders leapt out to a 20-6 lead 20 minutes into the game but were reeled in by the hosts and forced to defend grimly in the final minutes to secure the valuable win at a packed Waikato Stadium.

Trailing by a converted try, the Chiefs won two penalties after the siren as they hammered the Crusaders defence in a desperate bid to cobble a draw, but were denied when inside centre Sonny Bill Williams was held up on the line.

The win gives the Crusaders valuable breathing space in the wildcard berths for the playoffs, while the Chiefs have already sewn up the New Zealand conference and will contest the post-season.

Andy Ellis scored a controversial try for the Crusaders in the 51st minute - Kieran Read and Luke Romano also crossed the line for the visitors.

Brodie Retallick scored a try for the Chiefs and Sonny Bill-Williams had a brilliant cameo when he rolled over a pile of tacklers in the 55th minute to score.