The Crusaders bounced back from last week's shock loss to the Cheetahs, edging the Chiefs 25-19 in Napier on Saturday.
The Crusaders bounced back from last week's shock loss to the Cheetahs, to beat the Chiefs 25-19 in a lacklustre Super Rugby match in Napier on Saturday.
All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter kicked five penalties, a conversion and a drop-goal to end the match with twenty of his side's points with the boot.
The Crusaders' victory closed the gap to two points behind the Blues who lead the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.
Carter showed why the New Zealand Rugby Union attached such priority to winning his signature on a new four-year contract this week, exerting a subtle influence on all aspects of the Crusaders' game.
The 29-year-old, having only recently overcome a hamstring injury, carried the ball confidently to the defensive line, picking at its fabric and then finding runners with well-timed passes to direct the Crusaders' attack.
While the rest of the Crusaders' backs seldom combined to threaten the Chiefs' defence, the home side's forwards became increasingly dominant and Carter turned that dominance into territory and points.
Stephen Donald kicked four penalties for the Chiefs and added a conversion of Liam Messam's last-minute try to earn the Chiefs a losing bonus point.
Donald and Carter exchanged penalties in a scrappy first half which left the teams locked 6-6 at half-time. A try to lock Luke Romano's immediately after the break was crucial, giving the Crusaders a seven-point lead and the base to play with more authority.
Carter's accurate tactical kicking kept the Chiefs pinned in their half for long periods of the second half and he was able to take advantage as the visitors gave him six second-half shots at goal, of which he landed four.
Pens: Carter 5
Pens: Donald 4
Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Brad Thorn, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Tu Umaga-Marshall.
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Taiasina Tuifua, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Jackson Willison.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)