TODAY |

Mo'unga leads Crusaders to fifth straight Super Rugby title

Relive 1 NEWS' live updates of the Super Rugby Aotearoa final between the Crusaders and Chiefs at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch this evening.

FT: CRU 24-13 CHI

So the Crusaders have done it again! Did anyone really believe there was going to be any other result?

The game was there for the taking for the Chiefs midway through the second half after both Taylor and Reece were sent to the bin, but they just could not take advantage, and struggled to maintain possession when they desperately needed to.

The Crusaders made them pay, taking every opportunity they could to slowly but surely extend their advantage and towards glory. Mo'unga lead the way, remaining calm under pressure and leading from the front with the boot.

That makes it five straight Super Rugby titles for the Crusaders, an incredible achievement for the competition's most dominant franchise.

That's all from us. Have a great evening and look forward to the Trans-Tasman competition starting next Friday.

80min: CRU 24-13 CHI

Hall kicks it out and the Crusaders have won Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021!!

74min: CRU 24-13 CHI

CRU PEN!! Havili gets his hands on the ball as the Chiefs try to counter-attack from the back, and wins his side another penalty. Mo'unga lines it up once more and slots it again. That should put the result beyond doubt now.

69min: CRU 21-13 CHI

CRU PEN!! The Crusaders win a penalty around 35m out on the left flank. This could be crucial if Mo'unga can knock it over - and he does, despite the rain beginning to pour down. The Chiefs need to score twice now.

64min: CRU 18-13 CHI

CRU DG!! The Crusaders counter-attack through Mo'unga and Hall after receiving the kick from the Chiefs! They take the ball into the Chiefs territory and Mo'unga slots a drop kick - his first ever in Super Rugby - to reinstate the five-point lead.

63min: CRU 15-13 CHI

Taylor returns to the field, while Douglas and Ennor also come on for the Crusaders for this last quarter.

58min: CRU 15-13 CHI

CRU YEL!! Another card for the Crusaders! Reece joins Taylor in the bin, this time for a high tackle. So 15 now plays 13 for at least four minutes! McKenzie has another shot at the posts and this time it's through. The game is on now!

54min: CRU 15-10 CHI

CRU YEL!! Could this be a turning point? The Chiefs throw the ball over the back of the lineout and McKenzie jumps to take it, but is taken out in the air by Taylor! This looks bad, McKenzie has landed safely, but Taylor receives a yellow card. But McKenzie misses another penalty!

43min: CRU 15-10 CHI

The Chiefs win another penalty and McKenzie has another crack at the posts, this time from the right side. But he's missed it to the right this time! Really not a great time for McKenzie to start losing his form off the tee.

41min: CRU 15-10 CHI

Lienert-Brown kicks in behind and is racing after it. Bridge is struggling to get there as the ball crosses the line. Both men dive for the ball and it appears Bridge has knocked it dead purposefully, but it's missed by the refs and the Crusaders escape with a goal line drop out.

40min: RESTART

The Chiefs kick off and we're back underway.

HT: CRU 15-10 CHI

The Crusaders have a five-point advantage at the break, but the Chiefs will be pretty pleased with where they sit at the moment. They were able to withstand an early onslaught from the home side and worked their way back into the game as the half went on.

One point of difference was the lineout. The move to put Brown in the second row doesn't appear to have worked for the Chiefs, and the Crusaders have won the ball against the throw on multiple occasions. 

However, this Chiefs side has proven they have what it takes to overturn deficits and beat the odds all season, so the second half is set to be a thriller.

Earlier in the evening, 1 NEWS sports reporter Jordan Oppert was soaking up the atmosphere prior to kick off at Orangetheory Stadium, and caught up with injured Chiefs skipper Sam Cane too. Check out his thoughts on his side's run to the final below:

Your playlist will load after this ad

Cane believed the Chiefs had gained plenty of experience in pressure moments this season. Source: 1 NEWS

40min: CRU 15-10 CHI

The Chiefs win the penalty around 30m out from the left flank. The Crusaders use their captain's referral on a tackle prior to the penalty, but there's nothing wrong with it. An odd decision from the home side to waste their challenge on that. However, the delay causes McKenzie to kick the penalty wide left, and the scores remain as they are going into the sheds.

36min: CRU 15-10 CHI

CRU PEN!! The Crusaders win a penalty on the edge of the 22m and Mo'unga points to the posts to try and extend their all-important lead. He nails it and the lead is five with just a couple of minutes to go until halftime.

34min: CRU 12-10 CHI

The Chiefs maul isn't going anywhere and the Crusaders target Weber as he receives the ball, holding him up and winning the penalty. Great defence from Havili and the Crusaders.

32min: CRU 12-10 CHI

The Chiefs turn over the ball in the scrum deep in their own 22m, and quickly try to breakaway down the field. Gatland breaks the line and runs up the middle of the field. He shifts wide to Lowe, who in turn offloads to McKenzie around the Crusaders advantage line. The Chiefs keep moving and McKenzie and Lowe combine again on the right, the latter dives for the line but looks to have been just short as Jordan tackles him out of play. The TMO rules no try but a penalty to the Chiefs for a high tackle on the 5m line.

25min: CRU 12-10 CHI

Mo'unga plays a crosskick to a rampaging Bridge, but the ball bounces back over the winger. Jordan picks it up but is pulled into touch by McKenzie, just a few metres from the Chiefs line.

Weber has passed his H.I.A and has returned to the field.

20min: CRU 12-10 CHI

Gatland nails a line kick penalty from a difficult angle to give the Chiefs another opportunity. They have 13 men in the lineout! They win the ball but the extra men aren't helping the maul much so the ball is shifted to the right, where Nankivell finds himself in a bit of space. He throws an unbelievable offload out the back of the hand while he's getting tackled right into the hands of McKenzie, who wins the foot race to the corner! Chiefs hit back! McKenzie converts from the sideline.

16min: CRU 12-3 CHI

CRU TRY!! The Crusaders have come storming back down the field and have scored again!! Fainga'anuku slams into the defensive line, and soon the ball is shifted to the left. Havili nudges a well-weighted grubber kick in behind the defence and the race is on between McKenzie and Jordan. The Chiefs fullback tries to dive on the ball but misses it and it bounces into Jordan's hands and he's over! Mo'unga can't convert so the lead remains nine.

13min: CRU 7-3 CHI

CHI PEN!! The Chiefs win a penalty and kick for touch in the Crusaders' 22m. This their first chance of the game. The Chiefs win another penalty and McKenzie will take a shot at the posts to get his side on the scoreboard. And he's nailed it.

Weber has also gone off the field to get an H.I.A after a collision with Fainga'anuku. Tahuriorangi replaces him.

8min: CRU 7-0 CHI

CRU TRY!! The Crusaders have the first push at the line. Mo'unga swings it wide to Reece on the right, who just has one man to beat in McKenzie. The fullback does well to bring him down, but the momentum is too much as Reece reaches out and plants the ball on the white chalk. Mo'unga slots the conversion and the Crusaders have the early advantage.

4min: CRU 0-0 CHI

Blackadder intercepts in midfield. The Crusaders quickly counter, Havili finds Reece with a brilliant one-handed offload on the right wing, and the All Black winger sprints into acres of space. He passes inside to Drummond, but the halfback loses it forward as he's tackled.

7.08pm: KICKOFF

Mo'unga kicks off and the final is underway!

7pm: A LATE CHANGE FOR THE CRUSADERS! Tom Sanders is in at 7 in place of Sione Havili Talitui, who misses out due to a head knock in warmups. Whetu Douglas moves onto the bench.

Your playlist will load after this ad

There was a sea of red in the Garden City today, before the Crusaders' clash with the Chiefs. Source: 1 NEWS

PREVIEW:

Welcome to the big dance everyone!

The Crusaders host the Chiefs at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch tonight in what should be an epic Super Rugby Aotearoa final.

Of course, history favours the home side. The Crusaders have never - I repeat, never - lost at home in the post-season in Super Rugby since the competition was formed in 1996.

The club has won the Super Rugby title each of the last four seasons, and are just 80 minutes away from claiming silverware once more.

They are a well-oiled machine full of match-winners and more importantly, experienced title-winners.

But the Chiefs are setting out to change the tune. It has been a sensational turnaround for the Waikato franchise, who at one point were languishing at the foot of the table thanks to an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season.

That changed when they overturned a 26-7 halftime deficit against the Hurricanes in round three, and they did not lose another game until last week when they rested key players in a dead rubber against the Blues.

The Chiefs have already beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton this year, and coach Clayton McMillan said his squad was heading south confident of what would be a major upset.

"On any given day, any team can be beaten, and we have proven that," he said.

Damian McKenzie has starred in the clutch for the Chiefs, deciding three straight games with last-minute penalties, and his work with the boot may once again prove crucial tonight.

TEAMS:

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (c), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.

Reserves: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Braydon Ennor.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.

Reserves: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Zane Kapeli, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Rameka Poihipi, 23 Chase Tiatia.