The Crusaders continued their Super Rugby romp, winning their 19th match in a row with a 57-28 thumping of the Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ loss puts a huge dent in their campaign, as they remain winless after four outings, languishing at the bottom of the competitive New Zealand conference as a result.
Mistakes from the mercurial Damian McKenzie lead to the opening two tires for the hosts. Debutante Sevu Reece perfectly read a Mckenzie cross-kick which enabled a counter-attack, then minutes later he would intercept a McKenzie pass to score his first try.
With much of the usual suspects in the Crusaders pack out injured, they were under pressure at scrum time. That pressure lead to the Chiefs opening score via backrower Taleni Seu.
But the Crusaders bounced back swiftly with a brace of tries from full-back Will Jordan and opne to powerful hooker Andrew Makalio, all converted by Richie Mo'unga to stretch the lead out to 33-7 at the half.
A try from prop Michael Alaalatoa in the opening minutes of the second half was cancelled out by Chiefs’ left winger Etene Nanai-Seturo, who benefitted from another strong scrum effort.
The Crusaders buried the Chiefs with a brace of tries from talented replacement hooker Codie Taylor and another to scrum-half Bryn Hall.
In the dying embers of the match, the visitors earned two consolation tries via new signing Jack Debreczeni and Mitchell Brown.
Crusaders 57 - Tries: Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece, Will Jordan (2), Andrew Makalio, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor (2), Bryn Hall; Conversions: Richie Mo'unga (5), Brett Cameron
Chiefs 28 - Tries: Taleni Seu, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Jack Debreczeni, Mitchell Brown; Conversions: Damian McKenzie (3), Jack Debreczeni
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 Braydon Ennor, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Ere Enari, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody. Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Harry Allan, 18 George Bower, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 David Havili
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick (captain), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross. Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Alex Nankivell
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Nick Hogan (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)