- By AP and Sam Worthington.
Seven out of seven. Just incredible – the Crusaders have beaten the Chiefs 25-20 to win their seventh straight Super Rugby title.
Scott Robertson ended his seven year tenure as Crusaders coach with his seventh title as his team beat the Chiefs 25-20 in the Super Rugby Pacific final.
Robertson has celebrated every title distinctively by breakdancing on the pitch surrounded by his players and he did so again in Hamilton after a win sealed only in the last eight minutes.
He now steps down to await the start of his All Blacks tenure after the Rugby World Cup in France.
Hooker Codie Taylor scored the second of his two tries from lineout drives in the 72nd minute to give the Crusaders a 22-15 lead after the Chiefs had rallied from 15-10 down at halftime to lead 20-15.
Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga converted the try and then kicked a penalty in the last minute to seal the win in his last act for the Crusaders before he leaves to play in Japan.
“We talked about going to heaven this year, but we had to go through hell first,” Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor says.
The Chiefs were hurt badly by three yellow cards tonight.
“The overarching theme is that you cannot win a final when you spend 30 minutes with 14 men,” Morgan Turinui says on Stan Sport.
“The boys are hurting and we really wanted to do it for you guys tonight,” Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane says.
“We’ve got a young team. We’ll be back. Really proud of the season we’ve had and I know we’ll carry this hurt with us for a while…
“It’s been a heck of a season so it hurts to come up short. I want to credit this Crusaders side – they’ve been the best for a number of years and shown it again tonight.”
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett took the stage and gave credit to the Chiefs.
“”I don’t know how we got away with that one,” Barrett said.
“Every season has adversity but we don’t want to make that an excuse. We just trusted the next man in.”
CRUSADERS 25 (Codie Taylor 2, Richie Mo’unga tries; Mo’unga 2 pen, 2 con) CHIEFS 20 (Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa tries; Damian McKenzie 2 pen, 2 con)