- The Crusaders have won their last 13 completed Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Blues, conceding an average of just 17 points per game.
- The Crusaders’ last home game in Super Rugby ended in a 33-12 defeat to the Highlanders; they will now look to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since April 2015.
- The Blues have a 29% win rate against the Crusaders in Super Rugby, having won only 11 of their 38 previous scheduled meetings; it’s the Auckland side’s lowest win rate against any club in Super Rugby history.
- Crusaders’ duo Will Jordan (92m) and Leicester Fainga’anuku (78m) have gained more metres per game than any other players in the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season.
- Rieko Ioane scored a try against the Highlanders last time out, snapping a four-game try-less streak in Super Rugby; he has crossed for one try in each of his last two away games against the Crusaders.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in New Zealand.
2.00: MISS! Richie Mo’unga’s drop-kick is wide. 0-0
5.00: TRY! Will Jordan shrugs off two defenders and slips another two to open the scoring. 7-0
7.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 7-0
10.00: It’s all Crusaders in the opening exchanges in Christchurch.
12.00: The Blues finally get their hands on some possession, but they can’t turn it into points. Sione Havili Talitui is pinged for a late tackle – Harry Plumer calls for the tee.
13.00: MISS! Plummer misses an absolute sitter from in front. 7-0
16.00: A couple of reset scrums are holding up play. Blues have the ball just inside their half.
17.00: The visitors win their second scrum penalty of the game, Plummer boots to the 22.
19.00: NO TRY! Hoskins Sotutu, after a six-phase attack, carries a couple of Crusaders over the chalk to get the Blues on the scoreboard. The TMO, however, checked for accidental obstruction against the visitors, which should have been called. Instead, the officials deemed Sotutu short of the line and held up for a goal-line drop-out. 7-0
21.00: The Blues go nowhere after a sustained attack, but Scott Barrett is pinged for offside. Black kicks to the corner.
22.00: The Blues cannot get over the whitewash after a few pick and drives, they are stopped at the goal-line before the hosts win the penalty at the ruck.
24.00: Codie Taylor knocks on the ball with a certain try on the cards for the hosts after Sevu Reece’s turnover.
26.00: A wild forward pass by Stephen Perofeta gifts the home team an attacking scrum under the visitor’s posts.
28.00: TRY! And just like that, Sevu Reece scores in the corner after the Crusaders battered away at the Blues’ line. That is too easy. 12-0
29.00: OFF THE POST! Mo’unga doesn’t add the extras. 12-0
32.00: The Blues have had the better of the possession and territory, but they have not made it count. Ethan Blackadder is pinged – after a Captain’s Challenge – for a neckroll on Blake Gibson. Penalty only.
34.00: Another poor piece of handling kills a promising attack inside the Saders’ 22. Leon MacDonald’s men have been poor inside the red zone.
36.00: An untidy lineout by the home team ends with Dalton Papalii winning the Blues a penalty at the ruck. The Blues got away with one, there.
38.00: Mo’unga wins a crucial turnover at the breakdown after Caleb Clarke’s touchline run took the Blues from their 22 to the home side’s 22. The Saders counter all the way to the opposition’s half and win a penalty after Mark Telea hits a ruck from the side.
40.00: MISS! Mo’unga cannot extend his side’s lead before the interval. 12-0
41.00: Offsides by Telea will give the Saders another shot at goal before the break.
42.00: MISS! David Havili’s long-range kick is short. 12-0
The halftime score was Crusaders 12 Blues 0
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Orangetheory Stadium.
41.00: PENALTY! Otere Black gets the Blues on the board. 12-3
44.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga cancels out Black’s kick. 15-3
45.00: Codie Taylor gives away another kickable penalty.
46.00: PENALTY! Black makes no mistake. 15-6
50.00: The game has settled down after those three goals.
53.00: The Crusaders look like scoring every time they go wide to their playmakers. The Blues need to sort out their blunt attack because a couple of penalties will not win them the game.
55.00: Taylor falls foul of the ref again, Black calls for the kicking tee.
57.00: MISS! Black pulls his kick just wide of the posts. 15-6
59.00: TRY! Mo’unga kicks to the corner, the Crusaders go to their driving maul, and Taylor flops over the chalk. Easy as you like – game over!
60.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 22-6
64.00: It’s all Crusaders as the Blues look to be out of ideas. This has been a very shoddy display by the visitors, who looked ill-prepared for this contest and didn’t seem to believe they could win the game.
67.00: The benches are starting to be emptied.
71.00: Another good chance goes begging for the Blues, who have been poor today. This game cannot end fast enough for MacDonald’s men.
72.00: TRY! Jordan beats Finlay Christie to the bouncing ball, and dots down for his second. 27-6
74.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 29-6
78.00: The game is dying out as the battered Blues search for a consolation score.
80.00: The Blues keep probing, but they are going nowhere.
The final score is Crusaders 29 (12) Blues 6 (0)
Tries – Jordan (2), Reece, Taylor
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (3)
Pen – Black (2)
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: Chris Hart
15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Manasa Mataele
15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane (co-captain), 12 Tanielu Tele’a, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii (co-captain), 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Sam Darry, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Taine Plumtree, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Otere Black, 23 AJ Lam