Super Rugby

Clinical Crusaders slay listless Lions




The Crusaders slew the Lions 36-10 after another dominant performance at AMI Stadium, Christchurch.

The bonus-point victory puts the Crusaders one win away from equalling their home winning streak of 26, set between 2004 and 2007.

Sevu Reece and George Bridge both registred braces as the Crusaders blew the Lions away.

Braydon Ennor started the scoring after Reece’s deft handling in midfield and the home side never looked back, running in five tries to one.

It is the defending champion’s 11th win in their last 12 Super Rugby clashes against the Lions, who were never in this contest.

Losing their coach Swys De Bruin last weekend before their win over the Chiefs might have inspired them to victory.

However, the loss of influential skipper Warren Whiteley before the match was not ideal.

Kwagga Smith took over the captaincy, however, he looked a fish out of water with some of his decisions.

Smith opted for three points in the first half despite his forwards winning a scrum-penalty at the previous play.

The Crusaders had given away multiple penalties on their goal-line, and keeping the opposition under pressure in the set-piece, might have been a better idea.

You can’t beat the Saders on their turf with threes.

Ruan Combrinck scored the South African’s only trying with a second-half intercept in between Reece and Bridge’s braces.

Smith might have made some dodgy calls, but he was immense at the breakdown, winning four penalties and multiple turnovers.

The visitor’s scrum was dominant, but it was the poor handling by the backs that killed the few opportunities the Lions had.

Crusaders show patience and ruthlessness as they build a big lead

It was a typical Crusaders display, although, they were a little bit sloppy in the first quarter.

Video Highlights: Crusaders versus Lions, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Round 11, 2019

They dominated the early exchanges, racing into a 10-nil lead after Ennor crossed in the fifth minute.

Richie Mo’unga kicked a penalty soon afterwards.

The Lions had to settle for an Elton Jantjies penalty after two long series of attacks came to nought.

The Crusaders held them out with resolute defence, but Smith’s decision to take the points, especially after his forwards dominated the previous scrums, was bizarre.

Another penalty would have resulted in a card or penalty try if the Saders folded at the next set-piece, however, Smith made the wrong call.

The home team were immediately on the attack after the restart, camping inside the Lions 22.

Some good work by Aphiwe Dyantyi, winning the turnover after Ryan Crotty’s interception, came to nothing when his teammates botched an exit.

After a series of reset scrums, the defending champions laid siege to the opposition’s try-line. They went through 27 phases, using mostly pick-and-drives around the ruck.

The South Africans did not blink, they repelled the monumental attack with resolute defending of their own to win the scrum after some superb work by Smith.

However, the visitors could not keep their hosts out for any longer. with five minutes to play before the break, the Lions put themselves under pressure after conceding the turnover just outside their 22.

Another series of reset scrums ended with Reece bouncing Smith and Dyantyi to score in the corner. It was nothing more than the Crusaders deserved.

They had all the possession and territory and now the points to give themselves a comfortable two converted-try lead going into halftime.

Lions under the pump after halftime

The opening exchanges of after the break was spent inside the Lions’ 22 as the home side asserted their dominance.

The Lions managed to hold their opponents out winning a turnover at a five-metre rolling maul before winning another scrum-penalty.

The Crusaders kept knocking on the door then finally, they bashed it down. Mo’unga kicked another penalty to the Lions’ 5m.

Billy Harmon broke to the openside and offloaded to Bridge, who had followed the flanker’s run from the left wing to score his 26th Super Rugby try.

The game was over after the restart

A counter-attack from inside their own 22 saw Bridge cross for his second try in as many minutes.

Mitchell Drummond started the move, breaking from his 22 before playing the supporting Ennor on the outside.

Ennor raced into the opposition’s half before putting Bridge away for the score: game over!

It was end-to-end as the teams traded blows

Combrinck’s intercept soon afterwards was cancelled out by Reece. David Havili’s magic hands put Jordan Taufua through a gap.

Taufua sent the ball to Reece, who put boot to ball and chased his grubber, beating the cover defence to net a brace.

Mo’unga missed his first kick from wide, but it made no difference to the outcome as the Crusaders cruised to another win.

Final Score: Crusaders 36 (17) Lions 10 (3) 


Tries – Ennor, Reece (2), Bridge (2)
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Combrinck
Pen – Jantjies
Con – Jantjies
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Munro
TMO: Aaron Paterson



15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Ngane Punivai.


15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Sti Sithole.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Tyrone Green.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.