Crusaders not fooled by depleted Reds' limp loss to Highlanders

The Crusaders’ head coach expects a vastly different team to front against them in Brisbane on Saturday night, not one still coming down from a triumphant final, and one missing a host of key players.

He also knows the Super Rugby Aotearoa champion Crusaders must be significantly better in multiple areas after their tense 31-29 win against the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday night.

NZ teams go unbeaten in round one of Super Rugby trans-Tasman

Domingo Miotti missed a chance to see the Western Force to a home win over the Chiefs in Perth as they went down 20-19 while Noah Lolesio missed a similar last-gasp chance to earn the ACT Brumbies a draw with the Crusaders in Christchurch, handing the New Zealanders a 31-29 win.

The Blues, meanwhile, pulverised the Melbourne Rebels 50-3.

The trio of New Zealand wins added to Friday's success for the Highlanders, who outmuscled Australian champions Queensland Reds, and the Hurricanes, who beat the New South Wales Waratahs.

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Crusaders claim 12th title with win over Chiefs

The hosts secured a 12th Super Rugby title, a second in the domestic edition and the fifth in a row.

Winger Sevu Reece and fullback Will Jordan scored tries in the first 16 minutes but thereafter the Crusaders -- reduced to 13 men in the second half with two men in the sin bin -- had to rely on the boot of Richie Mo'unga to keep the Chiefs at bay.

The first five kicked a conversion, three penalties and a drop goal and, just as importantly, banged the ball into the corners to keep the Chiefs in their own half late in the game.

Can the Chiefs overcome history?

The Crusaders won the inaugural edition of the New Zealand competition last season without a final but the big red machine have claimed six of their record 10 Super Rugby titles as hosts, with many of the finals not even close.

The Chiefs have already beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton this year, however, and coach Clayton McMillan said his squad was heading south confident of what would be a major upset.

"On any given day, any team can be beaten, and we have proven that," he said.

Pumas skipper signs with Crusaders

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Matera is one of the "premier loose forwards in world rugby.

"He's a skilful and tenacious player with genuine leadership qualities, who has impressed us with his physicality and work ethic. We're really excited about him joining us next season, and sharing his experience with our young loose forward group who are learning their craft."

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are "still working through the finer detail" of the agreeement.

Jordan shines as Crusaders secure home final

Fullback Jordan brushed off five potential tacklers to open the scoring in the fifth minute and delivered the bonus point seven minutes from time by chasing down a David Havili kick through.

Defeat without bonus points leaves the Blues needing a big win over the resurgent Chiefs at Eden Park next week if they are to provide the opposition in the title-decider for the second year in a row on May 8.

Manasa Mataele keen to remain at Crusaders despite Fijian Drua's emergence

So, could the Suva-born Crusader play for them after his current contract with the Christchurch-based franchise expires at the end of the year?

Mataele is adamant he wants to remain at the Crusaders for a sixth season, although he realises there’s no guarantee he’s offered another contract, and knows all too well how quickly plans can change after suffering serious knee and pectoral injuries the past two years.

Chiefs to cheer on Crusaders

Last night's dramatic win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton leaves the Chiefs second in the competition standings - three points behind the defending champion Crusaders and five points ahead of the Blues.

The Chiefs are looking over their shoulders at the Blues, who face the Crusaders in Christchurch on ANZAC Day.

The Crusaders can secure a home final with victory, but if the Blues win their final round match against the Chiefs at Eden Park will become a virtual semi-final.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan admits he'll be backing the reigning champions tomorrow.

McKenzie shines as Chiefs edge Crusaders

Both teams won golden point matches last week, but last night it was the kicking of Damian McKenzie - both tactically and from the tee - which proved decisive.

He nailed four penalties and two conversions in a faultless performance to edge the Chiefs ahead in a see-sawing second half.

The Crusaders had started strongly, scoring after seven minutes as they built phases and closed in on the line with strong running through the midfield.

Watch Chiefs vs Crusaders on the Big Screen at Suva’s Albert Park

Farid Mohammed, Digicel Fiji CEO, said; “We are delighted to be able to organise the free live screening of the highly anticipated rugby clash on Sky Pacific. A big screen will be erected at Albert Park and rugby fanatics and families are invited to come and soak the live match atmosphere and enjoy Super Rugby.”