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Crusaders beat Highlanders in Christchurch

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The Crusaders have won eight of their last nine Super Rugby matches against the Highlanders (L1); their only defeat came in their most recent meeting at Orangetheory Stadium (33-12 – Round 6, 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa).

The Highlanders will be aiming for back-to-back away victories against the Crusaders in Super Rugby for the first time in the history of the competition, following their win the last time they travelled to Christchurch (April 2021).

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1.00: PEEEP! The Crusaders kick-off the southern derby at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.

3.00: Expecting a lot of kicking by these two teams, especially the Saders, who kick more than any New Zealand team in Super Rugby.

4.00: Daniel Lienert-Brown stripped Will Jordan at the ruck, Highlanders cleared to the Crusaders’ 22.

5.00: The weather is cool and wet, with a breeze blowing around the ground, which will make handling difficult.

7.00: TRY! Mitch Hunt kicked to the corner instead of taking the points, and it works a treat. Andrew Makalio powered over in the corner from the lineout move, which involved a one-two with Shannon Frizell. 0-5

9.00: CONVERSION! Hunt slots the touchline conversion. 0-7

12.00: The Highlanders bring down the Crusaders’ driving maul, but the hosts have the advantage.

13.00: TRY! David Havili gathered his own chip-kick to set up some quick ball for Mitchell Drummond. The halfback played Fletcher Newell, on the run, and the big prop carried Scott Gregory over the line. 5-7

14.00: CONVERSION! Richie Mo’unga levels. 7-7

16.00: Highlanders batter the Crusaders’ try line with a nine-phase attack from a scrum, but a stab-grubber rolls over the dead-ball line. Tony Brown’s men, however, had a penalty advantage, and kick to the corner.

19.00: The Crusaders did not compete at the lineout, the Highlanders spread the ball wide before switching to the left. A deft pass from Hunt to Gregory, who held his line, opened space for the centre before darting through several defenders to score. 7-12

20.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 7-14

23.00: A mistake by Codie Taylor leads to a scrum in midfield to the visitors. Nothing came from the set piece; instead, Aaron Smith’s box-kick gives the home team possession.

26.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga splits the uprights from about 40 metres out. 10-14

28.00: An interesting call by the referee leads to the Landers being pinged for closing the gap at the lineout they stole against the throw.

30.00: Nothing came from the scrum-penalty advantage, this time Mo’unga goes to the corner.

31.00: TRY! David Havili and Leicester Fainga’anuku combine for Havili’s second assist of the game, and Fainga’anuku’s 12th try of the season after some good defending by the Highlanders’ forwards at the maul. The burly centre ran over Sean Withy to put Scott Robertson’s team ahead. 15-14

32.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 17-14

35.00: Robertson’s charges increased the tempo, but a knock on killed a promising attack. The Landers look shocked.

37.00: Smith’s short clearance gave the home team good attacking field position; however, the Landers won possession and clear.

39.00: Oh dear, Hunt drops a high ball, although, the ref deemed the ball went backwards, which allows the visitors a reprieve. A stray kick comes off Fetuli Paea’s hand and into touch for a Crusaders’ lineout.

40.00: Crusaders’ forwards are dominating their opponents, they win another scrum penalty before the hooter allowing David Havili a long-range shot at goal from near the touchline.

42.00: MISS! Havili’s kick is no good. 17-14

The halftime score was Crusaders 17 Highlanders 14

41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.

43.00: Another poor clearance by Aaron Smith gives away possession.

45.00: Highlanders have a good opportunity with an attacking lineout near the 22.

47.00: Aaron Smith opts for a penalty instead of kicking to the corner.

49.00: MISS! Oh, dear! Hunt shaves the righthand post. 17-14

52.00: Highlanders botch another good attacking opportunity inside the Crusaders’ 22 when they lose a lineout.

54.00: Newell concedes a penalty on the halfway line, which will allow Hunt to set up inside the home side’s 22.

58.00: Both teams are struggling to keep possession, conceding too many penalties in the other side’s half.

62.00: Not much going on as the game becomes a mess. It’s going from penalty to scrum to penalty to mistake.

65.00: Sevu Reece does not hear the whistle, he thinks he has scored, but the ref calls him back for offside by Zach Gallagher.

68.00: Hunt misses his touch-finder; instead, he kicks out over the in-goal area. That is poor!

70.00; It’s all Highlanders, but mistakes keep costing Brown’s men.

73.00: Frizell’s midfield break is halted near the Saders’ 22. The Landers keep the ball in the tight-phases before going wide. Good defending by the hosts keep the blue team out.

74.00: Will Jordan loses the ball forward to give the opposition an attcking scrum on the host’s 22.

77.00: RED CARD! Shilo Klein is off for a dangerous tackle on Ethan de Groot, his shoulder hit the prop’s head, and after TMO review, is off. 17-14

79.00: The Landers botch their last chance with another mistake at lineout. Manaaki Selby-Rickit is isolated after diving on a loose ball, Ethan Blackadder wins the penalty at the ruck.

81.00: Mo’unga bootds to touch: game over!


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The final score is Crusaders 17 (17) Highlanders 14 (14)


Tries – Newell, Fainga’anuku
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (2)
Drop –
Cards – Klein (Red, 77′)

Tries – Makalio, Gregory
Pen –
Con – Hunt (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Stu Curran
TMO: Shane McDermott


Crusaders: 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 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Shilo Klein, 17 George Bower, 18 Tamaiti Williams, 19 Zach Gallagher, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Braydon Ennor.

Highlanders: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Mosese Dawai, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Sean Withy, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Saula Mau, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Denny Solomona.

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