Late blitz as Crusaders blow Chiefs away

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 06:00
Large crusaders v chiefs 800

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Dour tries in the last quarter, including a penalty try, saw the Crusaders race away from the Chiefs in their opening match of the season.

The Chiefs held a one-point (20-19) lead on the hour mark, before the Crusaders clicked into overdrive - running away to 45-23 win in Christchurch on Saturday.

The scoreline perhaps does not reflect the brutal nature of the contest - which saw three players being yellow carded.

And despite two of the four late tries being intercept scores, the Crusaders will celebrate a successful start to the defence of the title as Super Rugby champions.

There were nine tries scored in the helter-skelter, but error-strewn encounter - seven of them to the Crusaders, who were also hit with two yellow cards leaving captain Sam Whitelock unimpressed with their overall effort.

"It's very, very tough when you're down to 14 men for periods. We gave away too many penalties," he said.

Early tries to Matt Todd, Richie Mo'unga and Jordan Taufua saw the Crusaders race to a 19-3 lead before Mo'unga and Michael Alaalatoa were sin-binned which helped the Chiefs work their way into the game and close within two points by half-time.

A Damian McKenzie penalty 15 minutes into the second half put the Chiefs in front leading to a frantic finish in which Whitelock scored to regain the lead for the Crusaders before another McKenzie penalty narrowed the gap to three points.

But what shaped as a tense finish was blown apart when Lachlan Boshier felled Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty with a head-high tackle as he was diving for the line earning the Crusaders a seven-point penalty try.

In a frantic effort to close the gap, the Chiefs conceded intercept tries to George Bridge and Manasa Mataele in the closing minutes.

"The scoreboard does not reflect the battle that it was," said Chiefs skipper Sam Cane.

"We were beaten to the punch in the first 20 minutes, but to our credit, we pulled ourselves back into it."

Man of the match: There was Charlie Ngatai, Damian McKenzie, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick - McKenzie, despite not being flawless, showing all the attributes needed to become a world-class flyhalf. For the Crusaders you can look to the usual suspects - Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Richie Mo'unga, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Samuel Whitelock (captain), Luke Romano and Codie Taylor. Our award goes to Crusaders flank Matt Todd - for his hard work at the breakdown and on defence.

The scorers:

For the Crusaders:
 Todd, Mo'unga, Taufua, Whitelock, Penalty try, Bridge, Mataele
Cons: Mo'unga 3, Havili, penalty try dies not require a conversion (seven-point try)

For the Chiefs:
 Cane, Alaimalo
Cons: McKenzie 2
Pens: McKenzie 3

Yellow cards: Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders, 20 - cynical foul, plating the ball on ground five metres from his own tryline), Michael Alaalatoa (Crusaders, 35 - foul play, swinging arm to the head), Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs, 71 - foul play, high tackle)


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Peter Samu, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.              
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Chiefs: 15 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Atunaisa Moli, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4