Blues hang on to beat Crusaders

The Blues have won in Christchurch for the first time in 18 years, defeating the Crusaders 27-23 in an enthralling Super Rugby Pacific match.

Leading 17-7 at the break, the Blues clung on to win the bruising contest, successfully defending their line in the dying minutes for a historic victory.

The Blues were the first to score when Stephen Perofeta slotted a penalty in the 9th minute.

The Crusaders hit back through Will Jordan when he received a cut out ball from David Havili to touch down in the 18th minute.

Lively halfback Finlay Christie hit back from close range after a Barrett line break on half way to put the Blues back in front, before Blues captain Dalton Papali'i crashed over the line with a powerful run in the left hand corner.

David Havili was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on the stroke of half-time, as the visitors carried a 17-7 lead to the break.

The Crusaders hit back early in the second spell with a penalty, but were soon in trouble again when Scott Barrett's shoulder connected with the head of Blues prop Alex Hodgman in a tackle.

After referring to the video screen for a replay, referee Mike Fraser had no choice but to give the Crusaders Skipper a twenty minute red card.

Blues hooker Kurt Eklund scored a well executed try from the back of a lineout drive to give the visitors to a 24-10 lead.

Despite the disadvantage of only fielding 14 players, a spirited Crusaders side refused to give in, with Sevu Reece squeezing in for a try on the right hand edge to keep the scoreline close.

Beauden Barrett added another penalty for the Blues, but things tightened up once again when Sevu Reece scored his second try from a prolonged period of attack on the Blue's goal line to take the score to 27-23.

Recce's double set up a tight final ten minutes, with the Crusaders carrying the momentum and being cheered on by a boisterous home crowd.

The Blues showed resolve on defense late in the game to hold on for a hard earned victory.

The Auckland side now leads the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, with seven wins from eight games.