The Crusaders are the reigning back-to-back Super Rugby Aotearoa champions, with a total of five Super Rugby crowns on the trot, and they will be tough to beat at home – a place they never lose.
The Brumbies are coming off a brutal defeat to the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU final last weekend, so it remains to be seen if they can perform against the world’s premier rugby organisation.
- The Crusaders have won their last nine consecutive Super Rugby fixtures against the Brumbies; their last defeat to the team from the Australian Capital Territory came in Round 2, 2009 (18-16).
- The Crusaders have won 19 of their last 20 Super Rugby games against Australian opposition (L1), including their last four on the bounce.
- The Brumbies have won their last three consecutive regular-season games outside Australia in Super Rugby; the last and only time they won more in succession was a five-game stretch from May 1999 to May 2000.
- The Brumbies scored five tries from mauls in the 2021 Super Rugby AU season, as many as were scored in the entire 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in total (Crusaders 2, Chiefs 2, Blues 1).
- Richie Mo’unga has beaten 39 defenders in Super Rugby this year, four more than any other player and 12 more than Brumbies’ best Andy Muirhead (27).
- The last time the Brumbies defeated the Crusaders in Christchurch was back in 2000 when Scott Robertson – Crusaders Head Coach – was still playing.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Codie Taylor led out the Crusaders with his two children to mark his 100th Super Rugby game.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at a chilly Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.
2.00: The Brumbies manage to hold up the Crusaders from the short Richie Mo’unga kick-off. They then win a free-kick from the reset scrum.
5.00: TRY! The Crusaders’ counter-attack from wayward Ryan Lonergan and Tom Banks’ kicks leads to a superb set of attacks by the Saders. They moved the ball left to right before going wide to Ethan Blackadder, who slides in untouched. 5-0
6.00: MISS! Richie Mo’unga pulls his kick.
8.00: A lot of problems in the scrums here, they keep getting reset because the front rows cannot stay up.
9.00: Scott Sio is penalised for collapsing, Mo’unga boots to the opposition’s 22, but the Saders knock on their own lineout.
11.00: Michael Alaalatoa gets pinged for collapsing, Banks clears to halfway.
13.00: It’s a very messy game so far, both teams making handling errors, and the scrums are being policed strictly.
16.00: The game has no rhythm. The mistakes are killing any chance of teams gathering any momentum – it’s pretty dull so far.
17.00: Rory Scott is pinged inside the home team’s 22 after the Brumbies’ first decent attack. Mo’unga clears to the halfway line.
19.00: David Havili is isolated at the ruck, which gives the visitors an opportunity to clear their lines.
21.00: Referee Paul Williams has had enough, he talks to both front rows and tells them he will begin to penalise and show cards.
23.00: Irae Simone intercepts a loose pass inside his 22 and races away to the Saders’ 22. But he is pulled down by Braydon Ennor before the Brumbies manage to win a penalty. Lolesio kicks to the corner, but nothing comes of the attack.
25.00: The visitors have an attacking scrum under the posts on the Crusaders’ 5m line.
26.00: David Havili gives away his third penalty, Banks kicks to the corner. The referee has now warned the hosts for the repeated infringements in the ‘Red Zone’.
27.00: TRY Scott Sio crashes over next to the posts for his fifth Super Rugby try. The Brumbies did not take the two shots at goal, and Allan Alaalatoa is vindicated with seven points. 5-5
28.00: CONVERSION! Lolesio adds the two. 5-7
29.00: TRY! A mistake from the kick-off leads to the Saders’ having an attacking scrum in the middle of the field. The Crusaders go right to Mo’unga, who did the rest, stepping inside three defenders and racing away to score under the sticks. 10-7
30.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga converts his score. 12-7
33.00: There are still problems in the scrums, and the ref is getting annoyed. He warns the front rows again, but he really needs to start showing cards.
34.00: this time Mr. Williams pings Michael Alaalatoa for collapsing. Banks boots the ball to the corner again – this is good captaincy from Alaalatoa.
36.00: Nothing comes from the attacking lineout; instead, the Crusaders win a penalty, and clear.
36.00: TRY! David Havili intercepts Ryan Lonergan’s lazy pass, and he races half the length of the field to score under the posts. 17-7
37.00: CONVERSION! The kick is through. 19-7
38.00: A mistake from the restart by Lolesio, who kicks the ball out on the full, leads to a centrefield scrum for the hosts.
40.00: A poor call by Codie Taylor leads to the hosts losing a chance at three points. Taylor opted for a quick-tap penalty instead of a scrum near the Brumbies’ posts. Ennor ended up losing the ball over the try line.
The halftime score was Crusaders 19 Brumbies 7
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.
44.00: Both teams had long phases of possession but not making anything count.
47.00: A couple of players are down after another long Saders’ attack. Scrum to the Brumbies after a knock-on.
50.00: TRY! The visitors score against the run of play after Simone scores under the posts from a ruck on the Saders’ line; that was too easy. 19-12
51.00: CONVERSION! Lolesio adds the extras. 19-14
55.00: The Brumbies are growing in confidence as they begin to run from inside their half. The hosts look jaded after last weekend’s Super Rugby Aotearoa final, struggling to maintain possession or discipline.
58.00: PENALTY! Lolesio cuts the gap. 19-17
61.00: NO TRY! Luke Reimer makes a try-saving tackle on Ethan Blackadder, who thought he had a second. 19-17
63.00: TRY! The Crusaders get their try in the end after a powerful driving maul sees Brendon O’Connor flop over the chalk. 24-17
64.00: MISS! Mo’unga cannot convert. 24-17
67.00: The hosts earn a penalty after a poor scrum by the visitors, Mo’unga kicks to the corner.
69.00: TRY! Cullen Grace takes Ereatara Enari’s flat pass, and powers over next to the posts. 29-17
70.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 31-17
71.00: TRY! Banks scored a wonderful try from inside his half to keep the visitors in the game. 31-22
73.00: CONVERSION! Lolesio adds the two. 31-24
79.00: YELLOW CARD! Enari is off. 31-24
80.00: TRY! Rob Valetini scores in the corner to give his team a shot at a draw. What a score! 31-29
81.00: MISS! Oh, dear! Lolesio misses from wide – game over! 31-29
The final score is Crusaders 31 (19) Brumbies 29 (7)
Tries – Blackadder, Mo’unga, Havili, O’Connor, Grace
Con – Mo’unga (3)
Cards – Enari (Yellow, 79′)
Tries – Sio, Simone, Banks, Valetini
Con – Lolesio (3)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Glenn Newman
15 George Bridge, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Sanders, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Sevu Reece
15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Mack Hansen