CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Hamilton-based Chiefs gave up an early 10-0 lead to lose 39-17 to the Christchurch-based Crusaders Saturday and equal the record losing streak by a New Zealand team in Super Rugby.
Defending champions the Crusaders are unbeaten after three matches in Super Rugby Aotearoa this season while the Chiefs’ 11-match losing run equals the record set by the Highlanders in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The Chiefs’ streak extends over three seasons, embracing the last match of the full Super Rugby tournament in 2020, all eight matches in New Zealand’s domestic Super Rugby competition that year, under British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland, and their first two matches of the current season.
Their effort to stave off the record started with promise when fullback Damian McKenzie scored a try, added the conversion and kicked a penalty to give the Chiefs a 10-0 lead after only nine minutes.
The Crusaders struck back with a try to winger Leicester Fainga’anuku, made by a long pass from David Havili. With two penalties to flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, the Crusaders edged ahead 11-10 at halftime.
That was the start of the Crusaders rally. They were much more effective running into the breeze, dominating set pieces and pinning the Chiefs in their own half.
The Chiefs had the final say with a consolation try to Etene Nanai-Seturo.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports