Super rugby Aotearoa

Clinical Crusaders put Hurricanes to the sword

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The Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 25-39 in round 2 of Super Rugby Aotearoa at Sky Stadium, Wellington.

The Crusaders notched up a five-try to one bonus-point win with a clinical – as well as rusty – performance over a blunt Hurricanes side at the Cake Tin.

A stodgy affair was level at 25-25 with less than 12 minutes to play, but this game was never close – the Saders always had the edge.

They found their way over the chalk at regular intervals despite struggling with ill-discipline, which is the only thing that kept the hosts in the contest.


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Richie Mo’unga scored a try and kicked 14 points for a match haul of 19.

He was slightly outdone by Jackson Garden-Bachop, who scored 20 points including five penalties, a conversion and a drop-goal, but it was not enough for the home team, who crumbled at the death.

The victory is the defending champions’ sixth win on the trot against the Hurricanes, who are yet to open their Super Rugby Aotearoa account.

Jason Holland’s side is rooted to the foot of the log after last week’s 30-20 defeat to the Blues.

Three first-half scores by 10-times Super Rugby Champions had the Hurricanes reeling.

Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor and Jack Goodhue all crossed the whitewash as the Crusaders set the tone in a pulsating first-half.

The game was a stop-start affair as the visitors struggled with the new laws at the breakdown.

It allowed Jason Holland’s charges to stay within touching distance through the metronomic boot of Garden-Bachop.

Garden-Bachop kept his side in the hunt as the hosts trailed by one just after at the break.

Both teams had a nightmare with their lineouts, and shipped penalties at an alarming rate.

Mo’unga added two penalties before the hour to give his side a seven-point advantage.

Asafo Aumua scored with a quarter of an hour to go to give the home support hope of an upset.

Garden-Bachop levelled from wide to make it 25-all; however, two late scores by Mo’unga and David Havili put paid to any upset.

Crusaders dominate the early exchanges, scoring twice inside the opening quarter of an hour.

The game started with a bang when the hosts lost a lineout and conceded a converted try inside three minutes.

The Crusaders counter-attacked from their half, sending the ball through the hands before Reece dived over in the right-hand corner.

An 11-phase attack ended with Garden-Bachop putting the Canes on the scoreboard after seven minutes.

Holland’s charges had some possession, but could not make it count; instead, it was the defending champions who struck for the second time on 15 minutes.

Scott Robertson’s men were are on the charge; they went seven phases.

Codie Taylor beat two defenders before Mo’unga, playing halfback, collected at the ruck and put in a grubber behind Ben Lam for Ennor to dot down in the corner.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2 Video Highlights: Hurricanes versus Crusaders at Sky Stadium, Wellington

Garden-Bachop halved the deficit on 19 minutes with his second penalty, but the visitors were in control.

The Hurricanes lineout was creaking.

Some ill-discipline from the Saders allowed the hosts to win a penalty and kick to the corner.

However, once again, Dane Coles could not find his jumper, but the Hurricanes one a scrum. The set-piece led to a penalty.

The penalty count mounted quickly, the visitors shipping nine to one inside half-an-hour.

Garden-Bachop knocked over his third goal from close-range to make it 9-12 before levelling, moments later, with a drop-goal after the Crusaders lost a lineout by their 22.

It was helter-skelter by now: All action.

The two teams traded blows, but while the hosts were dealing in threes, the visitors were dealing in tries.

Mo’unga took a quick restart, catching the retreating Canes off-guard.

Tiatia was at fault for the third try. The 24-year-old got into a kicking battle with Will Jordan and lost.

The fullback, challenging his opposite number, knocked on Jordan’s returned bomb, and the ball bounced into Joe Moody’s hands.

The loosehead raced to the 22 and combined with Jordan, who waited for the supporting Goodhue. The centre took the delayed pass scored under the posts.

Mo’unga added the extras.

Garden-Bachop slotted another penalty to stay in touching distance, while his opposite number missed a shot at goal before the break.

Hurricanes stay in the hunt thanks to Garden-Bachop’s boot but struggle to breach the Crusaders defence.

The first-five continued where he left off, slotting his fifth goal after Goodhue was sin-binned for offsides.

The centre’s card was an accumulation of indiscretions by the Crusaders, who continued to struggle with the new offside rule.

Mo’unga knocked over his first successful penalty-goal on 50 minutes to make it 3-3 while Goodhue was on the naughty step.

The game was stop-start as both sides conceded penalties at every breakdown.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2 Video Highlights: Chiefs versus Blues at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Aumua scored in the corner and Garden-Bachop levelled from the touchline; however, the joy was short-lived.

It was a superb score. A break from Vince Aso saw Lam carry into the opposition’s 22.

TJ Perenara, who was involved twice in the build-up, sent a long skip-pass to Ngani Laumape.

The centre cut inside, holding the ball up before stand-up a defender then putting Aumua away.

Roberton’s men blow away Canes with a late double act.

A mistake by Kobus Van Wyk led to Mo’unga scoring in the 69th-minute.

The winger tried to keep the ball alive after fielding a George Bridge grubber behind the lines, but he made a hash of his pass.

All Van Wyk did was throw a wild pass, as Bridge tackled him into touch, to the hands of Mitchell Drummond, who in turn, sent Mo’unga away to score.

The first-five slipped between Perenara and Ardie Savea to score.

He then slotted the touchline conversion to re-open the seven-point gap.

The Hurricanes profligacy and decisions to kick at goal instead of looking for tries came back to bite them.

Havili combined with Drummond to finish proceedings with less than five minutes to play.

The 25-year-old’s angled run saw the Hurricanes defence part like the Red Sea allowing him to coast under the posts.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Final Score: Hurricanes 25 (15) Crusaders 39 (19)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – Aumua
Pen – Garden-Bachop (5)
Con – Garden-Bachop
Drop – Garden-Bachop
Cards –

Crusaders
Tries – Reece, Ennor, Goodhue, Mo’unga, Havili
Pen – Mo’unga (2)
Con – Mo’unga (4)
Drop –
Cards – Goodhue (Yellow, 44′)

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Mike Fraser

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (co-captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Fraser Armstrong

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Ben May, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Kobus Van Wyk

Crusaders

15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku

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