The Chiefs squad was facing 11 losses in a row as they moved to Christchurch to face the champion Crusader outfit. The visitors inserted Josh Lord and Kaylum Boshier into the match day 23, the young duo getting their Super Rugby Aotearoa spurs.

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The Crusaders had looked clinical in their first victories; they had backline stars David Havili and Will Jordan coming back to start.

The Chiefs started well and were 10 points up in no time. Sadly from that moment on the Crusaders ground them to dust in the set piece and powered through to a 39-17 victory. Eleven losses in a row for the Chiefs, one more and they’ll hold a very undesirable record.

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Ross Karl of Sky Sport NZ, former Auckland Blues hooker James Parsons and Canterbury Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall discuss the key figures for the Highlanders in their dismantling of the Chiefs.

Here’re the Chiefs’ ratings:

1. Reuben O’Neill – 5

It’s tough against the Crusaders scrum…..he was solid on defence and improved his negative yardage from last week with no carries for 0 metres. Penalised in 36th minute at scrum. Off at 43.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6.5

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A muscular weapon around the field with 14 tackles and bruised some Crusader’s ribs. Got to show his skills in the 11th minute with ball in hand after he’d lost a line out. Got penalised in the 35th with what looked like a vigorous, legal counter ruck. Didn’t throw poorly but the Crusaders line out locked out his jumpers and he was part of a crumbling scrum. Off at 57.

3. Angus Ta’avao – 4

Two good strong carts in the first minute to straighten the attack. Lost scrum in the 14th minute against Bower and that was just the start. At 49 minutes gave away a free kick trying to referee rather than scrum, then muscled by Moody for a penalty off the resulting scrum. Probably should’ve have been subbed off then as the scrum wheels were coming off. Penalised again at 57, then got a rest.

4. Tupou Vaa’i – 6.5

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He’s really turning into a leader with some angry defence. 16 solid tackles. Collapsed a maul at the 29th minute when the ball was out, at one stage missed a hot-stepping Mo’unga but got up and nabbed him seconds later. Robbed Goodhue in the 38th minute with a great turnover. One player who is shining in adversity; it’s got to be good for him and NZ rugby!

5. Josh Lord – 6

Showed some special skills but was out-smarted at lineout time. Showed how to defend Will Jordan early on with a big bearhug to hold him up for a maul. Did it again in the 26th to show it wasn’t a one-off. Off at 43; we’ll see plenty more from this young giant.

6. Mitch Brown – 6

He is a workaholic, with plenty of petrol in the tank to execute great workrate in the trenches. At the end of both halves he was putting his hand up for the ball to work it up. Had the satisfaction of finally smashing Mo’unga after he’d toyed with the Chiefs in the 2nd half.

7. Sam Cane – 7

It’s going to take a special player to top this guy on the tackle count, a match high 25. Tough call in the 23rd minute to be penalised at the back of the ruck. That penalty almost leaked a line out drive try. Then another offside penalty conceded three minutes later. Tried to stem the tide but mission impossible. Off at 63.

8. Luke Jacobson – 6.5

Attributed with the turnover in the 38th mine with Crusaders on attack. Great engine, got the turnover at the 72nd for a Chief’s attack that brought the Nanai-Seturo try. Little drop in the 76th but a great component in the pack.

9. Brad Weber – 6

Not the night for Weber to buy a Lotto ticket. Penalised wrongly at the scrum for being offside in the 31st minute, then yellow carded after a disallowed captain’s challenge that seemed to show he had stopped the try legally. Off at 63.

10. Bryn Gatland – 5

Playing second fiddle to McKenzie on attack but is a good wingman. At 42 minutes flew in to a ruck to ensure a turnover. Dad would have been proud! Off at 56.

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 6

Always dangerous with the dance floor moves and a useful left foot for exits. Error on defence with Havili handing him off for Fainga’anuku’s try. Popped up on the right flank in the 73rd minute for a try.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 5.5

Showed his strength in the midfield with 17 tackles. Got hammered a couple of times early on with ball in hand; looked like he was a little upright. Pinged for an infringement at the tackle in the 28th.

13. Sean Wainui – 5

I had a go at his distribution last week but a beautiful pass off the left hand to put DMac in space in the first minute for his try. Lost ball on attack in the 19th minute, then radio silence as the Crusaders turned the screws. Off at halftime.

14. Shaun Steveson – 4.5

So quiet. Didn’t touch the ball once on attack. Had a burst in the 52nd minute with 2 tackles in two seconds. Stark contrast to Jonah Lowe’s effort last week in terms of work rate.

15. Damian McKenzie – 7

Three touches in the first minute and somehow hustling over to give the Chiefs first blood. Such an influential general and accurate goal kicker. Brilliant on cover twice on Goodhue and Fainga’anuku. Stepped up to first receiver with aplomb.

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater – 4.5

On at 57 and looked motivated. Penalised in the 60th minute for offside.

17. Aidan Ross – 4

On at on 43. Penalised at scrum in 78th minute and couldn’t combat the champion’s scrum.

18. Sione Mafileo – 4

On at 57. Couldn’t stop the procession in reverse.

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi- 6

On at 43 and looked animatedly busy this week. Made a nuisance of himself at the lineout and was energetic in defence. Missed Douglas on the way to his try but was an improved performance.

20. Kaylum Boshier – NA

On at 63. We’ll see more of him.

21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – 6.5

On at 63. Awesome flying tackle on Reece in the 68th minute. Got a bit excited and took a player out in the lead to the Dunshea try. Obviously with Xavier Roe in the picture he needed to be noticed and he was very good.

22. Anton Lienert-Brown – 5

On 40. Couldn’t make a difference through no lack of trying. Came up on defence and in no man’s land that led to the 45th minute Drummond non-try.

23. Chase Tiatia – NA

On at 56. Had a good spell at 64 with a couple of carries but pretty quiet.

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