Wing Leicester Fainga'anuku scored a hat trick for the Crusaders who held on to beat the Blues 34-28 in their fourth-round Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific match which reprised last year's final.
The Blues came close to winning the match with late tries but lock James Tucker and backrower Hoskins Sotutu both lost the ball when they were over the Crusaders line.
The Blues opened the scoring in the 7th minute from winger Mark Telea who shrugged off tackles, broke into space and dashed over from almost halfway.
Telea and fellow winger Caleb Clarke had a major role in the game with their powerful running.
Fullback Fergus Burke replied for the Crusaders in the 14th minute, then Ethan Blackadder scored to give the Crusaders their first lead at 12-7 after 21 minutes.
The Blues wrested back the lead with a try to Clarke and went out to 21-12 with a try to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Fainga'anuku scored twice before halftime to put the Crusaders back in front and they went to the break leading 24-21.
A try to Stephen Perofeta narrowed the gap but the Crusaders held on with the help of a penalty from Richie Mo'unga.
In other results, the Chiefs defeated the Rebels 44-25 and the Brumbies thumped Moana Pasifika 62-36.
Today, the Highlanders will meet the Western Force at 2.35pm and the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua will face the Reds at 5pm.
[Source: Super Rugby]
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