15 Feb 2009

Crusaders start with a win

9:17 am on 15 February 2009

The Crusaders have started their Super 14 rugby season with a 19-13 win over the Chiefs in Christchurch.

The defending champions dominated the first half and led 14-5 at half-time with tries to Casey Laulala and Tim Bateman while the All Black centre Richard Kahui scored for the Chiefs.

A Stephen Donald penalty closed the gap early in the second half before Kahui put the winger Lelia Masaga over in the corner to reduce the home side's lead to one point with about 20 minutes to go.

Both sides continued to make elementary mistakes but the Crusaders held their nerve under pressure and with a minute to go they forced a five-metre scrum from which Laulala's second try sealed the win.