Chiefs player ratings: The table-topping Crusaders travelled to Hamilton to take on cellar dwellers the Chiefs in Round 8 of Super Rugby Aotearoa. There were milestone moments for Aaron Cruden bringing up his ton of Super rugby games and Sam Whitelock clocking up 150 to his name.

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Crusaders always play with venom after a loss and they chalked up two early tries but the Chiefs, with their nothing to lose attitude, stayed in the game for long periods before succumbing 32-19.

Here’s the Chiefs player ratings:

1 Reuben O’Neill 6
Short night for the loosehead adding to the Chief’s tight forward injury woes. Off at 17 minutes.

2 Bradley Slater 7
Impresses week after week with his awesome, combative forward play. Great run down the right flank in the 49th minute. Off at 56.

3 Nepo Laulala 6.5
Would have been relieved to match up against Bower instead of Moody but couldn’t really make a dent in the champion’s scrum. Gutsy turnover in the 55th minute after valiant defence from the team, not allowing the Crusaders over the advantage line through multiple phases. Off at 60.

4 Tupou Vaa’i 6.5
Amazing effort from the young tyro, improving each outing even with the endless grind of Super rugby.

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5 Mitchell Brown 6.5
Buries his head in the tight stuff and doesn’t usually come up for air.

6 Lachlan Boshier 7.5
Some classic turnovers after a quiet week last week. Wins lineout ball, runs and distributes like a centre and finishes like a pro. Off at 64

7 Sam Cane 8
Just kept putting in thundering hits on the Crusaders. Game high, quality 21 tackles and some good carries in the final minutes as the Chiefs tried to spark a comeback. Slight miss on Mo’unga 67th minute that set up try.

8 Pita Gus Sowakula 7.5
Storming first run set the tone and he just kept going. Magnificent on both sides of the ball with 44 metres off 14 carries and 15 tackles. No wonder Vern Cotter, the Fijian coach is licking his lips!

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9 Brad Weber 6.5
Couldn’t get his running game going tonight but was solid. Off at 65

10 Aaron Cruden 7
Mixed night. Found it hard to kick for territory as the Bridge, Reece and Jordan trio made them pay on kicks into the backfield. Lovely ball to Ah Kuoi 71st minute and put his body on the line time after time. Undoubtedly a Chief’s legend. Off at 78.

11 Sean Wainui 7
Strong ball runner with low error rate. Sevu Reece’s past opponents would have cheered loudly when Wainui put a strong shot on the jack in the box early in the second half.

12 Alex Nankivell 6.5
No frills just solid running and defence.

13 Anton Lienert-Brown 6.5
Ripped Goodhue off in the tackle in the 2nd minute but it turned out to be a quiet night for the All Black, with just 7 metres running.

14 Shaun Stevenson 6
It was a mercurial evening for the man they call Shooter. He missed matching up on Jordan for his try. Good run down the right flank after 20 minutes. Lovely scrambled save getting back in the 39th minute but then moments later got yellow carded with an optimistic slap down on a Crusaders overlap. Missed supporting runners on a break in the 49th minute as Bridge gobbled him up.

15 Damian McKenzie 7
Top run metres from either team as he injected himself well in the line. Kept a cool head slotting some nice long range penalties but as Justin Marshall remarked he has to work on his kicking from hand. To be fair the Crusaders are one of the best squads at running back the ball.

REPLACEMENTS:

16 Samisoni Taukei’aho 6
On at 56 and full of vigour with ball in hand. Just a shame his lineout work has become a liability.

17 Ollie Norris 6.5
On early at the 17th minute. Tall athletic prop, one for the future.

18 Angus Ta’avao 6
On at 60 and apart from the odd scrum hiccough looked in good knick.

19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi 6
On at 60 and quite energetic

20 Simon Parker 6.5
On at 63 with his debut and didn’t look out of place or overwhelmed by the occasion.

21 Lisato Milo-Harris 5.5
On at 65 and didn’t get the easiest of rides.

22 Kaleb Trask N/A
On at 78

23 Quinn Tupaea N/A

Chiefs player ratings

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