Super Rugby Semi-Final: Chiefs 20-19 Crusaders
Todd Blackadder laments latest play-off failure
July 27, 2013
The Crusaders' Matt Todd charges forward against the Chiefs, Chiefs v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Super Rugby semi-final, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, July 27, 2013
Matt Todd did not warrant replacing earlier than the 67th minute, Todd Blackadder said © Getty Images

Kieran Read summed up the Crusaders' night and their miserable recent play-off record when he butchered a try in the second half of their 20-19 loss to the Chiefs in their Super Rugby semi-final at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

The Crusaders, seven-time Super Rugby champions, have now failed at the semi-finals in four of the past five seasons, but coach Todd Blackadder, who has overseen all five frustrating campaigns since succeeding Robbie Deans, said this defeat stung more than others after his side had produced a rampant five-match winning run to secure their date with the Chiefs.

"I'm probably disappointed that we didn't play with the width and the dominance in the areas that we would have liked," Blackadder said, aware pre-match media reports had suggested that his contract negotiations would see him granted an extension. "It comes down to those critical decision-making errors on the field."

One glaring lack of execution came from Read, who broke into space just after half-time when his team led 9-3. The Crusaders captain looked set to score himself but he threw a pass that was intercepted near the tryline. The gamble of Chiefs winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma to go for the intercept paid off, as momentum swung in what Blackadder called a 14-point play and the hosts rattled off 17 unanswered points.

"It comes down to those moments," Blackadder said. "Probably the difference is that the Chiefs took their two [try-scoring] opportunities and we didn't quite nail ours."

Blackadder had no regrets about leaving All Blacks great Richie McCaw on the bench until the 67th minute, saying that Matt Todd didn't warrant replacing.

Kieran Read failed to take maximum advantage from this bust © Getty Images

The Chiefs defeated the Crusaders in the semi-finals for the second year in succession (video available only in Australia)

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