Super Rugby

Crusaders beat Highlanders in Christchurch




The Crusaders have played the Highlanders 35 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Crusaders have won 23 matches, drawn one and lost 11 times against Otago.

The Crusaders 23 victories give them a 67% winning record versus the Highlanders.

  • The Saders have won four of their last five Super Rugby games against the Highlanders, picking up a 45-22 triumph in their last complete encounter.
  • Each of the Highlanders’ last eight completed Super Rugby games has been decided by a margin of seven points or fewer, but they’ve not won since Round 2.
  • The Crusaders and Highlanders have each scored seven tries within the opening quarter of games in Super Rugby 2019, the joint-most of any teams in the competition.
  • Otago has conceded five tries after defending for seven or more phases this Super Rugby campaign; only the NSW Waratahs (six) have conceded more after such lengthy possession.
  • The Highlanders’ Ben Smith is set to play his 150th Super Rugby game; he’s crossed for two tries and provided one try assist in his last four away games against the Crusaders.
  • Scott Robertson’s men are unbeaten in their last 23 home games.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

Four weeks ago the Crusaders and Highlanders were scheduled to meet in Dunedin. The Christchurch massacre resulted in that match being cancelled; however, this game will go ahead.

This will be emotional under the lights in Dunedin, but these sides won’t disappoint. 

In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch. Ben Smith, one of the greatest players of any era, leads the Highlanders out to applause from both the opposition and the fans. Smith is involved immediately, taking Bryn Hall’s box-kick before his side force the penalty.

2.00: Josh Ioane kicks to the corner. Kieran Read knocks on the intercept and the Highlanders recycle.

3.00: TRY! Vintage Ben Smith, who ghosts through a hole, steps David Havili and crashes over. Sensational. 0-5

4.00: CONVERSION! Ioane adds the extras. 0-7

6.00: The Highlanders are defending a scrum inside their 22 after a dodgy restart. The set-piece is reset. Elliot Dixon picks up at the base and carries into contact before Ioane clears.

8.00: A couple of loose passes early in the game, is hampering the home team’s attack. Two sloppy passes were swooped upon, but the pace was taken out of the attack, eventually losing another pass forward. That’s three handling errors by the defending champions.

9.00: Joe Moody is penalised for collapsing.

11.00: Daniel Lienert-Brown knocks on but the visitors are awarded another penalty for offside. Ioane calls for the tee.

12.00: PENALTY! Superb technique and a wonderful follow-through from Ioane extend the lead. 0-10

13.00: James Lentjes is caught offsides at the ruck. Richie Mo’unga kicks to the corner.

14.00: The Highlanders defend well, forcing Matt Todd to knock on from the back of the driving maul. Already four handling errors by the hosts.

15.00: Ryan Crotty is pinged for a dangerous tackle. Ioane clears.

17.00: Braydon Ennor gathers a high-ball, the Saders recycle and knock on again. Five times, now.

18.00: Scott Barrett wins the turnover, Jack Goodhue kicked down the field, but Ben Smith strolls back, collects the bouncing ball and clears, from a tight angle, to halfway.

20.00: Both teams are turning the ball over. Pari Pari Parkinson is penalised for kicking the ball in the ruck. Mo’unga clears, ending a frantic three minutes.

23.00: Liam Coltman is down. Scott Barrett infringes, allowing Ioane to clear the danger. It’s been frantic during the past few minutes. Aaron Mauger will be happy, so far this evening. His men are in control and forcing their opponents into lots of mistakes.

26.00: TRY! The Crusaders were getting knocked backwards, they go nine phases. Mo’unga breaks through two players, take another player out with a pass, setting the move in motion. Matt Faddes jumps for an intercept, misses and Havili puts Ennor away down the sideline. 5-10

28.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 7-10

30.00: It’s end-to-end. Faddes intercepts racing through, but he is chased down by Mo’unga. The home team win the turnover and clear. Faddes was not moving well with his heavily strapped knee because a first-five should never get to him from that position.

32.00: Oh dear! Ioane, looking at his opposite number, drops Mo’unga’s kick, gifting a scrum to the home team on the Otago 10-metre line.

33.00: Lienert-Brown stands up in the scrum, conceding a penalty which Mo’unga puts out about 10 metres from the goal line.

34.00: Coltman wins the penalty after Read doesn’t release. He isolated himself after a good run and the hooker took advantage.

36.00: The visitors win another penalty, this time from the driving maul. The Crusaders have leaked seven penalties and six handling mistakes.

37.00: Sam Whitelock loses the ball forward after swimming through the maul, undoing his good work.

39.00: Teihorangi Walden finds a gap but no support before Lentjes is tackled out into touch. It’s a defensive lineout on the Saders’ 5-metre line.

41.00: The hooter sounds, giving Robertson’s side a final attack. The move stalls with another sloppy pass, however, the Crusaders clean up and go again. they are going through the phases, but they lose possession. It’s the Highlanders with the final surge.

43.00: The visitors cough up the ball. Crotty breaks, finding Ennor with a kick-pass. The winger goes down the sideline but the attack is halted. Phew!

The halftime score was Crusaders 7 Highlanders 10

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

42.00: TRY! Havili wins Kane Hammington’s kick and finishes the move with a score after Jack Goodhue’s break. The Crusaders recycle the ball and the fullback strolls in for the score. 12-10

43.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga makes no mistake from out wide. 14-10

45.00: Otago go through the phases, but the ball is turned over. Sevu Reece goes down the sideline. Mo’unga picks up a loose pass, kicks forward, although, Ben Smith beats him to the ball.

47.00: Lienert-Brown collapses the scrum. The Crusaders go quickly, but Mo’unga slips, stalling the attack before the ball is kicked away. Whitelock, surprisingly, opts for a shot at goal.

48.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga extends the lead to seven.

50.00: The Highlanders clean up another messy moment. Scrum to the hosts on the Otago 5m. It’s been all the Crusaders since the break.

52.00: PENALTY TRY! The Crusaders bulldoze the Highlanders’ scrum and the referee has no other option but to award seven. 24-10

54.00: Barrett throws a no-look pass a la Beauden, but his teammate is not aware, knocking on.

55.00: Ioane kicks the penalty to the Saders’ 22.

57.00: TRY! Reece finishes off a wonderful move in the corner. Ennor gathered Mo’unga’s cross-kick, held off Smith and played Reece on his inside to score. 29-10

58.00: MISS! Mo’unga pulls his kick wide. 29-10

60.00: Ioane goes close, the Highlanders had a six-on-three, but they miss the opportunity because Walden doesn’t look up for the outside support. The visitors do have a penalty which they kick out on the corner.

62.00: Barrett is pinged, Otago goes quickly, but make a hash of the quick lineout.

66.00: Ioane botches another chance, however, the Highlanders win another penalty, this time for collapsing a scrum. The visitors kick to the corner, but they are not clinical enough.

68.00: Another opportunity goes begging for Mauger’s side.

69.00: TRY! Ben Funnell breaks through the ruck. He took contact, the ball is sent wide to Reece, who is chased down by Ben Smith. Reece, showing great awareness, stands up in the tackle, draws another defender before a wraparound pass to Mitchell Drummond ends the game as a contest. 34-10

70.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds another two. 36-10

74.00: TRY! Finally, the Highlanders cross the whitewash. Folau Fakatava’s well-weighted grubber is collected by Ioane, who scoops up the ball and is over for his side’s second try. 36-15

75.00: CONVERSION! Gatland converts his five-pointer. 36-17

76.00: TRY! Will Jordan dances through a small gap and he races away for his eighth Super Rugby try of the season, level with the Rebels’ Jack Maddocks. 41-17

77.00: CONVERSION! Hunt adds the extras. 43-17

79.00: Another penalty.

80.00: YELLOW CARD! Funnell is sent to the bin after his team gave away six penalties in a row.

81.00: The Saders win the ball from the scrum and clear it into touch. Game over.


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The final score is Crusaders 43 (7) Highlanders 17 (10)


Tries – Ennor, Havili, Penalty try, Reece, Drummond, Jordan
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (3), Hunt
Drop –
Cards – Funnell (Yellow, 80′)

Tries – B. Smith, J. Ioane
Pen – J. Ioane
Con – J. Ioane (2), Gatland
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Gardner
TMO: Glenn Newman



15 David Havili, 14 Braydon Ennor, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Will Jordan.


15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Patelesio Tomkinson.

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