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Taylor-made win for Crusaders
Reds make do with losing bonus point after letting lead slip away
Fly-half Tom Taylor kicked a pair of late penalties to grab the Crusaders a tense 15-11 victory over the Reds in Christchurch.
In a repeat of last year's Super Rugby final, the Crusaders looked on course to suffer a fourth successive loss at the hands of their Australian opponents when they trailed 11-9 with eight minutes to go.
However the Reds paid dearly for pood discipline at the death, allowing Taylor to step up and win the game for the hosts.
In all the number 10 was successful with five of his six attempts during a match which saw the lead change hands several times.
Taylor's kicking apart, the Crusaders put in a poor performance which was littered with errors and they were fortunate to claim a win which moved them into second place in the New Zealand conference.
The Reds claimed the only try of the match as early as the first minute after charging down a Crusaders clearance straight after the kick-off.
Hooker James Hanson handled twice in the movement before he was the man to be driven over the line on a poorly-defended blindside.
Mike Harris missed the conversion of Hanson's try and also a 33rd-minute penalty, meaning two kicks in the seventh and 20th minute from Taylor had the Crusaders 6-5 ahead at the break.
New Zealand-born centre Harris did locate the posts three minutes into the second half to push the Reds in front, only for Taylor to reply three minutes later.
The visitors edged clear again with a 61st minute penalty awarded when replacement loosehead Wyatt Crockett was sin-binned for the Crusaders for a shoulder charge on scrum-half Will Genia.
But the last 10 minutes of the game saw several penalties awarded and Taylor made the most of his opportunities to make it 38 successful kicks from 45 attempts this season.
After being so close the Reds had to settle for a losing bonus point, meaning they are now nine adrift of the Brumbies in the Australian conference.