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Crusaders beat Chiefs 18-13 in Super Rugby Aotearoa

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Fullback Will Jordan scored two tries in combination with winger Sevu Reece to lift the Crusaders to a 18-13 win over the Chiefs Sunday in a rain-soaked match in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Jordan touched down once in each half for the Crusaders’ only tries in a match in which slippery conditions prevented either side from controlling possession or playing with structure or fluency.

His efforts kept the Christchurch-based Crusaders unbeaten after two matches in the New Zealand professional tournament and extended their unbeaten record at home to 46 games.

The Crusaders’ aggressive defense created openings in a match in which there were few clear scoring opportunities and none which resulted from a concerted build-up.

In the 33rd minute Chiefs and All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie failed to hold onto a high kick in slippery conditions and Reece quickly gathered the ball and passed infield to Jordan who scored.

Then, in the 46th minute Reece caught the Chiefs napping with a quick lineout, throwing the ball directly to Jordan who scored untouched. The score was contentious because Chiefs scrumhalf Brad Weber had been in conversation with the referee and in no position to stop the try.

The Crusaders seemed to have made the game safe with a 63rd minute penalty to flyhalf Richie Mo’unga which made the lead 15 points, meaning the Chiefs had to score three times to win. But the Chiefs swiftly hit back with a try to winger Sean Wainui and, when McKenzie added a penalty in the 69th minute, the margin was only five points.

With the ball proving near-impossible to handle, the Crusaders weren’t able to hold it long enough to lock the Chiefs inside their own half in the last 10 minutes. The Chiefs broke out and launched a threatening late raid on the Crusaders line which the defense again managed to repel, forcing a critical turnover.

“The forecast was for rain and we knew it was going to come down to who defended best and put pressure on in the opposition half,” Crusaders captain Codie Taylor said.

“A young fella like Will Jordan is on his toes non-stop and just wants to get involved. It’s awesome to see guys backing their skills in conditions like this and against a team like the Chiefs when opportunies don’t come too often.”

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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