Chiefs coach Warren Gatland has admitted he and his coaching staff were left "furious" by a referee's missed call moments before a Crusaders try in yesterday's close loss in Christchurch.
Gatland wasted little time after the 18-13 loss to question match official James Doleman over his decision not to penalise Crusaders midfielder Jack Goodhue for not rolling away from a ruck.
Goodhue slowed the Chiefs attack as he lay in the ruck but no advantage was signalled for his actions before halfback Brad Weber finally cleared the ball.
One phase later, the Chiefs bungled the ball into touch where Crusaders winger Sevu Reece caught them napping and used a quick throw-in to set up Will Jordan for his second try of the match.
While Reece was fetching the ball, the Chiefs appeared to be talking to Doleman about the missed call, giving Reece his moment to strike.
Gatland said the moment left the Chiefs' coach's box very heated.
''We were furious because we just felt the breakdown before it [the try], we felt Goodhue should have been penalised," Gatland said.
"To me, it was a tough decision, and then for them to take a quick throw and us not to react to it ... I just thought it was a certain penalty to us, I thought Goodhue made a tackle, and he's ended up rolling into our side and slowed the ball down.''
Adding to Gatland's headache is the fact yesterday's loss was the third on the trot for the Chiefs, leaving them firmly at the bottom of the Super Rugby Aotearoa standings after three rounds.
While winning the competition from here is highly unlikely, captain Sam Cane said the team aren't going to fold.
''We knew we really needed to come down here and get a win, but we're not going to say it's over because the nature of the New Zealand teams is anyone can knock over anyone, but it certainly means we've probably got to win every one going forward,'' Cane said.
''I thought we were a lot better side than last week, we looked a lot more composed when the pressure came on, but it doesn't take away we still fell short and that hurts, especially considering what was on the line.''
The Chiefs host the Hurricanes next Sunday before getting a bye in the fifth round.