The defending Super Rugby Pacific champion Crusaders remain in the playoffs race for another day after a 43-10, bonus-point win over Moana Pasifika.

The seven-tries-to-one triumph was the Crusaders' fourth of the season and lifted them into eighth place at the start of the final regular-season round. The top eight teams go on to next weekend's quarter-finals.

But matches on Saturday between the Fijian Drua and Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force and ACT Brumbies could drop the Crusaders out of the eight and end their run of seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.

The fact the Crusaders are still in with a chance of making the playoffs is remarkable enough. They didn't win a match until round six when they upset the Chiefs and their post-season bid only coalesced last weekend when they shocked the top-ranked Blues.

Friday's victory gave them 24 points and put them three ahead of the Drua who face the Rebels in Lautoka, Fiji where they are unbeaten this season.

"It will be the first time I've been cheering for an Australian team," Crusaders captain Codie Taylor said.

"It's unique. Now we've done everything we can and we can only wait.

"Finals footy, we love it and we want to be in it. The season that's been hasn't really set us up the way we wanted to but we've still got a chance."

The Crusaders leaned heavily on their set piece, especially in the first half when three of their four tries came from lineout drives. Two of those went to Taylor who now has 44 in Super Rugby, the most by a tight forward.

After Taylor and back-rower Ethan Blackadder scored through forward power in the first half, veteran centre Ryan Crotty crossed just before halftime in what will be his last home match for the Crusaders and perhaps his last match if Saturday's matches don't favour them.

The hosts led 26-10 at halftime and tries after the break were scored by backs Noah Hotham, Dallas McLeod and Macca Springer.

The match was definitely the last in Super Rugby for former Wallabies Sekope Kepu and Christian Leali'ifano who have ended their careers with Moana Pasifika. Leali'ifano has come to the end of a 16-year Super Rugby career, spent mostly with the Brumbies and which now tallies 180 games.

Kepu made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 and won a title that year with the NSW Waratahs. He ends with more than 150 Super Rugby appearances.


Crusaders 43 (Tries: Blackadder, Taylor 2, Crotty, Hotham, McLeod, Springer; Cons: Burke 4) def Pasifika 10 (Tries: F. Inisi; Cons: Havili; Pens: Havili



Crusaders: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Chay Fihaki, 13 Dallas McLeod, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Fergus Burke, 9 Noah Hotham, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Antonio Shalfoon, 3 Tamaiti Williams, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 George Bower, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Mitch Drummond, 22 Taine Robinson, 23 Heremaia Murray.

Moana Pasifika: 15 Kyren Taumoefolau, 14 Fine Inisi, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Pepesana Patafilo, 10 William Havili, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (captain), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Tomasi Maka, 17 Ivan Fepuleai, 18 Suetena Asomua, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Alamanda Motuga, 21 Aisea Halo, 22 Christian Lealiifano, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Matt Kellahan, Jeremy Markey
TMO: Brett Cronan