Although the Chiefs had dropped their first six games of the season, there was a feeling they could push the Crusaders hard in a nothing to lose clash and do a massive favour to the four other New Zealand teams still in the title reckoning.
In the end it came down to one moment of controversy which seemed to end the Chiefs chances.
Trialing just 20-19 with a quarter remaining, it appeared they had dodged a bullet when Quinten Strange shelled an inside ball from Will Jordan which was subsequently swooped upon by Sevu Reece for a try.
After much deliberation with the TMO, referee Ben O’Keeffe awarded a try much to the bemusement of the Hamilton faithful.
It was a try that broke the spirit of the luckless Chiefs and the final score line of 32-19 did not do them justice in what was a hard-fought encounter.
The equation is simple for the Crusaders with two games remaining against the Highlanders next week and the Blues in round 10. Win just one of those games and they will lift the inaugural Investec Super Rugby title.
The game also marked a couple of special milestones with Sam Whitelock bringing up 150 games for the Crusaders and Aaron Cruden 100 games for the Chiefs.
Catch the full highlights below:
Crusaders 32 (Tom Sanders, Will Jordan, Codie Taylor, Sevu Reece, Leicester Fainga’anuku tries; Richie Mo’unga 2 con, pen) Chiefs 19 (Lachlan Boshier try; Damian McKenzie con, 4 pen). HT: 17-10