Slade kicks Crusaders home over Chiefs in Super 15
Captain of the Crusaders Kieran Read (R) is tackled by Daniel Vermeule at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on March 8, 2014. Canterbury Crusaders won 18-17 over the Waikato Chiefs in the Super 15 on April 19, 2014 - by Marty Melville
It is the second loss of the year for the defending champion Chiefs but they remain at the head of the New Zealand conference three points clear of the fast-charging Crusaders.
On a wet night that nullified the opportunity for a free-flowing performance, Slade kicked all of the Crusaders points with six penalties as they turned around a 9-17 deficit at half-time to bank their fifth win from eight matches.
But it was Slade's all round game that drew praise from stand-in skipper Ryan Crotty.
"He was a big part of getting the momentum back in the second half. He kept the ball in front of us, put them under pressure and we capitalised on the back of that," Crotty said.
"It was like the Crusaders sides of old. We dug deep and clawed out way back into it."
The Chiefs scored the only try of the match, just on half-time, with the remainder of their points coming from the boot of Gareth Anscombe.
Anscombe had a chance to win the game on full-time with a 51-metre penalty attempt but the ball fell short of the posts.
With the rain ruling out champagne rugby, the clash between the multiple champion Crusaders and the reigning title-holders became a war of attrition.
Bone-jarring tackles to nullify close passing attacks led to a procession of players requiring concussion tests.
Both the Crusaders talismanic captain Kieran Read and Chiefs scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow lasted only half an hour before their games ended with head knocks.
The Chiefs put on a telling spurt as the Crusaders struggled to re-organise themselves in Read's absence, and with lock Dominic Bird in the sinbin after a shoulder charge that put Liam Squire out with concussion.
In the closing 10 minutes of the first half they turned a 3-9 deficit into a 17-9 lead with three penalties to Gareth Anscombe and the sole try of the match by Tom Marshall.
The domination continued for the opening seven minutes of the second half when the Chiefs camped firmly on the Crusaders line but were denied any reward by a resolute defence.
Although the Crusaders, in turn, never looked like cracking the Chiefs defence they played adventurous enough to stay on the right side of halfway for Slade to continue banging over penalties, slotting the winning kick with 10 minutes remaining.