The Chiefs are proving to be a side that can take advantage of critical moments in matches that in former seasons would have been allowed to slip by.

A gutsy, crucial and defiant 25-15 win over the Crusaders was all about Warren Gatland's men taking advantage of the big moments on the field and using them to graft out the second comeback victory in as many weeks.

Winning temperament while staying in the fight has been highly noticeable from the Chiefs in the opening fortnight of Super Rugby.

Experiencing little territory to start the game for the second week in a row, coming back from an early 12-0 deficit required the same calm, the same situational experience, the same patience and the same backing of the systems seen against the Blues.


All three of those characteristics were displayed again in Hamilton on Saturday, proving that the Chiefs' ability to turn around an early deficit wasn't just a one-off feat against the Blues a week earlier.

Perhaps the biggest moments of the night were the two Chiefs acts either side of halftime which gave them a moral boost, followed by a crucial score the next time they had possession.

The first act sees the Chiefs defending grimly inside their own 5m line for several minutes. As it looks like the Crusaders will finally break through and score as they always do, Lachlan Boshier and his fellow forwards win the breakdown battle and turn the ball over after having to fend off phase and phase of intricate power plays.

The Chiefs stay within four points and go into the break just four points behind when it looked like they'd be trailing by double digits again. It was just a turnover on the field, but for the Chiefs, it proved that there is indeed a changed temperament in the face of pressure.

Warren Gatland reflected on that turnover just prior to halftime, saying it gave the Chiefs a little victory on the field and showed his sides' character after a tough half of defending grimly.

"We showed a bit of character there, to get in at halftime off that felt like a bit of a victory for us and then we showed some things that we needed to tidy up on", Gatland said.

The second act has the Chiefs with ball in hand and methodically working their way down the field to begin the second half, making good chunks of territory with each phase and getting inside the Crusaders red zone. With Sam Cane on his outside, halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi keeps the ball and backs himself, powering through two defenders to reach out and score, earning the Chiefs a lead

Chiefs captain Sam Cane said that the toughest encounters always bring out crucial moments like that, and if taken, can tremendously impact the result in a teams' favor.


"Tight games like this are made up of those crucial moments, some tries at crucial times, some turnovers at crucial times and there was some massive scramble defense tonight after we fixed a few things on the run", Cane said

The result sees the Chiefs deservedly sitting top of the New Zealand conference after two rounds with a genuine claim that they can match, and beat the best kiwi sides. Another positive is that the set piece was much improved for the Chiefs this time round, winning all their scrums and only losing a few of their lineouts late in the game.

Next up, it's a trip to Japan for a clash against the Sunwolves and it will provide an opportunity for more players to get some game time as many of the Chiefs senior leaders will miss the next match.

Warren Gatland confirmed that Sam Cane will be rested, as will Anton Lienert-Brown and Aaron Cruden who stay in New Zealand. Damian McKenzie will travel and play.

The team flies out on Wednesday.