Super Rugby

Chiefs go top as Crusaders are beaten

Chiefs continued their impressive form against Crusaders as they beat the Super Rugby Australasian group leaders 23-13 in Suva on Friday.

For only the third time this season Crusaders were on the losing side, Chiefs running in two first-half tries to make it four wins in a row against their New Zealand rivals.

After falling behind to an early Richie Mo'unga penalty, Chiefs burst into life in the 22nd minute as James Lowe pounced on Seta Tamanivalu's deft grubber kick for the first try.

Full-back Damian McKenzie kicked the extras and then started the move that saw Chiefs extend that lead just after the half hour.

Having collected a high kick, the 21-year-old showed a great turn of pace to beat three men before offloading to Brad Weber, who applied the finish.

McKenzie added another kick, but their hopes of taking a 14-point lead into the break were dashed as Crusaders grabbed their first try in added time.

Jone Macilai-Tori was the right man in the right place to touch down after a great team move that started with Nemani Nadolo and ended with the wing collecting a pass for Jordan Taufua to score. 

The extras were duly added by Mo'unga, but their chances of reducing that deficit further in the second 40 were limited as Chiefs defended resolutely.

McKenzie and Mo'unga traded penalties after the restart as the scoring dried up, both sides suffering handling errors that cost them in promising positions.

Rather than allow Crusaders late possession the Chiefs went on the attack and a penalty from McKenzie ensured they climbed above their opponents at the top of the overall standings and the New Zealand conference.

In Canberra, Australian conference leaders Brumbies came back from a shaky start to beat Reds 43-24 with Stephen Moore scoring twice for the hosts.

Ben Alexander, Tomas Cubelli, Lausii Taliauli and Christian Lealiifano also crossed, with the latter converting five of the six tries and slotting a penalty as they made it four wins in a row for the first time since 2014.

It had all started so well for Reds as they raced into a 17-0 lead, but they were unable to contain their hosts and slipped to a ninth defeat of the campaign.