Chiefs coach Warren Gatland says the disputed lineout call from referee James Doleman was the "difference" as his side went down to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Gatland said the Chiefs camp was "furious" at the time of the Crusaders second try, feeling they had been denied a penalty.

That so-called fury was significant, as it distracted the Chiefs from defending a quick lineout after the Crusaders' All Black wing Sevu Reece jogged some distance to retrieve the ball.

The quick throw from Reece created a Will Jordan try to put the home side in a winning position they were able to protect in the tough conditions.


The Chiefs had been caught short, with players apparently trying to cajole a penalty out of Doleman for a Jack Goodhue ruck infringement.

After the Crusaders' 18 - 13 win, Gatland said: "I thought it was a certain penalty to us. Goodhue made a tackle and ended up rolling into our side, slowed the ball down.

"We eventually ended up getting it and Aaron Cruden tried to flick it on (but into touch).

"Those things sometimes happen…then the Crusaders have taken advantage and thrown the ball in quickly. That was one of the moments in the game."

Gatland said he was glad to see a reduced penalty count after the avalanche of rulings in the first two rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

In round one, the two games produced a combined total of 58 penalties. In round two it was 49. The Blues v Highlanders and Crusaders v Chiefs games over the weekend contained 33 penalties.

The Chiefs are the least penalised side, averaging under 10 a game. The Blues are the highest, at over 13.

"The penalty count was significantly down from both sides - the players have adjusted (to rule interpretations). Conditions weren't easy," Gatland said.


"We lost the kicking battle. They were smart in their kicking game.

"Take the quick lineout throw - that was the difference between the two teams.

"To me it was just a tough decision that, and then to take the quick throw in and for us not to react to it."

Gatland said the Chiefs "tried to play some rugby".

"I think there was nothing in it between the two teams."