Chiefs start Super Rugby season with big win over Crusaders

The Chiefs have started the new Super Rugby Pacific season in style.

Despite being at the Crusaders fortress in Christchurch, the visitors have come-from-behind and then pulled away for a big 31-10 win over the defending champions in Friday night's opening match of the 2023 competition.

Trailing 10-7 going into the break, the Chiefs scored 24 unanswered points in the second half as they powered to a confidence boosting victory.

The Chiefs finished third in the regular season standings last season, before being beaten 20-7 by the Crusaders at the semifinal stage.

After an early drop-goal from Richie Mo'unga, the Crusaders capitalised on a yellow card to Chiefs captain Sam Cane as a David Havili converted try gave them a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes.

But, soon after Cane returned, the Chiefs hit back with a converted try to another All Black, Brodie Retallick, gathering momentum that they more than carried into the second half.

A try to Cane gave the visitors the lead, before they were really able to cash in when Crusaders loose-forward Ethan Blackadder was also shown a yellow card.

Two more tries to Alex Nankivell and Cortez Ratima effectively sealed the deal for the Chiefs, ensuring the home fans left without the result they had came to see.

Round one continued on Saturday, with Moana Pasifika hosting the Fijian Drua in Auckland, the Highlanders playing the Blues in Dunedin and the Hurricanes in Townsville against the Queensland Reds.