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Chiefs topple Crusaders in Super Rugby

Rameka Pohipi has dived over in the corner three minutes after the fulltime siren to give the Chiefs a thrilling 24-21 upset win over 12-times champions the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific.

The Crusaders led 21-10 with a try to Braydon Ennor in the 46th minute.

But the Chiefs monopolised possession for the remainder of the match and scored two tries in the final five minutes to claim their first win in Christchurch in six years.

The loss was the first of the season for the Crusaders and their first in 11 matches over two seasons.

Winger Shaun Stevenson scored his second try of the match in the 76th minute to bring the Chiefs within range of the Crusaders at 21-17.

They relentlessly battered the Crusaders’ goal line for the remainder of the match and the defense finally yielded for Pohipi to score the winning try, which flyhalf Bryn Gatland converted from the sideline.

The Chiefs had narrowly failed to pull off a last-minute win over the Blues in their previous match when Gatland’s attempted penalty after fulltime, which could have been a match-winner, drifted wide of the posts.

“We were on the other end of a result like that last weekend,” Chiefs captain Sam Cane said. “Every time the Kiwi teams play it’s down to the wire.

“We had a mountain of possession in that second half and they defended so well. We just had to keep plugging, building phases and we stayed disciplined and managed to get what we needed just in the nick of time.

The Crusaders led 14-10 at halftime and went ahead 21-10 after a multi-phase attack which led to Ennor’s try.

The match slowly turned in the Chief’s favour throughout the second half as they won a larger share of possession and tested the tough Crusaders’ defence with phased attacks.

The Chiefs created an overlap for Stevenson’s second try and again overwhelmed the defence with numbers to set up the match-winner.

“I think they wanted to play a bit more and hold onto the ball in the second half,” Crusaders captain Codie Taylor said.

“We probably didn’t nail our defensive roles and when you do that and they get a roll on, they’ve got some classy players and they put pressure on us.”

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