Super rugby’s defending champions the Crusaders moved to the top of the Super rugby standings after beating the Sunwolves 14-49 with a bonus point in Brisbane.
The match was moved from Japan to Brisbane Australia due to the Corona virus so was in effect a home match for the Sunwolves.
The Crusaders outscored the Sunwolves seven tries to two in the match with two of the champions tries coming from Sevu Reece.
The Crusaders played almost the last 12 minutes of the match with 13 players after Hugh Roach and Sevu Reece were shown Red and yellow cards respectively.
Although the Crusaders were heavily favoured to win the match it was fairly even through the opening quarter. It took the Crusaders until the 18th minute to open the scoring and Tom Christie was first on the scoresheet.
Twelve minutes later the Sunwolves got on the scoreboard when Ben Hyne reached for the try line to score for the Japanese side. Garth April added the conversion to level the scores.
The Crusaders hit back almost immediately when Sevu Reece scored the first of his brace and Brett Cameron added his second conversion which took the half time score to 7-14.
New Zealand’s Crusaders started the second half with more intensity and Luke Romano was driven over the line for their third try.
Although the Crusaders had taken control of the scoreboard and the inevitable looked likely the Sunwolves refused to give up and Garth April managed to slip through several tackles over the next three minutes of play and his final breakthrough ended in a try under the posts which he converted.
Reece went over for his second try before Sione Havili crossed again for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders bonus point victory looked very much in doubt with just over 10 minutes remaining as Hugh Roach was red-carded for elbowing Hencus van Wyk in the head and then Reece was yellow carded for an intentional knockdown.
However the quality of the champions came shining through as even when reduced to 13 players they managed to create an opportunity to score for Braydon Ennor and then after Reece came back on and in the final act Fergus Burke crossed for their seventh try.
Next week the Sunwolves are scheduled to play the Rebels in Brisbane while the Crusaders are scheduled to play the Hurricanes.
Super rugby may have to be postponed due to a NZ directive that they will require everyone arriving in the country to isolate themselves for 14 days which would prevent teams from playing week after week.
Should the Super rugby season end prematurely the match would effectively have been the final match for the Sunwolves as they will not be part of the tournament next season.
Final Score Sunwolves 14 (7) Crusaders 49 (14)
Tries – B.Hyne, G.April
Con – G.April 2
Tries – T. Christie, S.Reece 2, L.Romano, S.Havili, B.Ennor,F.Burke
Con – B.Cameron 5,F. Burke
Cards – H.Roach (66th min Red), S.Reece (68th min Yellow)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1:Graham Cooper
Assistant Ref 2:Amy Perrett
TMO : George Ayoub
James Dargaville, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Keisuke Moriya (co-captain), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jake Schatz (co-captain), 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Ben Hyne, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Efitusi Ma’afu, 1 Nic Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Jarred Adams, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Shogo Nakano, 23 Yoshizumi Takeda
1. George Bower,2. Brodie McAlister,3. Oliver Jager,4. Luke Romano,5. Mitchell Dunshea,6. Sione Havili,7. Tom Christie,8. Cullen Grace,9. Bryn Hall (C),10. Brett Cameron,11. Leicester Faingaanuku,12. Dallas McLeod,13. Braydon Ennor,14. Sevu Reece,15. George Bridge
Replacements: 16. Hugh Roach,17. Isi Tuungafasi,18. Michael Alaalatoa,19. Whetukamokamo Douglas,20. Tom Sanders,21. Ereatara Enari,22. Fergus Burke,23. Manasa Mataele