HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 27: Sonny Bill Williams of the Chiefs leaps on Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs in celebration during the Super Rugby Semi Final match between the Chiefs and Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on July 27, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

The Waikato Chiefs foiled a spirited comeback bid by Canterbury Crusaders in Friday's nail-biting semi-final to register a 20-17 victory and reach the Super Rugby final for just the second time.

Tries from Sona Taumalolo and Liam Messam helped put the Chiefs 17-6 ahead as the 40-minute siren sounded but Ryan Crotty touched down from the final move of the first half and Dan Carter kicked the visitors back to within three points.

The Crusaders' chances of adding to their record seven titles faded when Carter missed a chance to pull his side level with four minutes left. The flyhalf's 48-meter kick dropped just short of the posts and the Chiefs held on to the whistle.

There will be a new name on the trophy this year, with the Chiefs set to meet the Stormers or the Sharks in next week's final.

The South African rivals meet in Cape Town in Saturday's second semi-final. – Reuters