Taylor boots Crusaders to victory
A faultless Tom Taylor kicking display ensured the Crusaders held on for a 25-19 win over the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday.
Taylor kicked six penalties and converted prop Ben Funnell's second-half try as the seven-time champions secured back-to-back Super Rugby wins.
Scott Fuglistaller raced over for the Rebels' only try late on, but the Australian side's rally arrived too late to claim anything other than a losing bonus point.
Jason Woodward kicked nine points for the Rebels and while he twice sent the hosts ahead early, Taylor levelled on each occasion.
Tom English made a try-saving tackle, but when Woodward missed a penalty the Crusaders soon grabbed a lead they would not relinquish.
Taylor twice made the rebels pay for ill-discipline and the home side were dealt another blow when dazed prop Laurie Weeks was forced off.
Woodward's third penalty did cut the Crusaders' lead to 12-9 at the break.
Taylor was quickly on target after the resumption, when Scott Higginbotham was whistled for offside, and Woodward then also had to leave the field after a crunching tackle.
Bryce Hegarty took over the kicking duties and again reduced the margin back to three points.
Finally the first try of the match arrived through Funnell, finishing an eye-catching move.
Taylor slotted the conversion and when a penalty soon followed the Crusaders opened a 13-point lead.
The Rebels tried to rally with Fuglistaller crossing after a rolling maul, but it was too late.