Super Rugby

Crusaders beat Highlanders in Christchurch




The Crusaders have played the Highlanders 36 times in Super Rugby since 1996, winning 24 matches, losing 11 times and drawn once.

The Crusaders’ 24 wins give them a record of winning 67% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of venue.

  • The Highlanders have lost six of their last seven Super Rugby matches on the road, conceding an average of 33 points-per-game.
  • The defending champions Crusaders have won five of their last six Super Rugby matches against the Highlanders, coming from behind at half-time to win two of those matches.
  • The Saders average 510 metres per-game in Super Rugby 2019, the most in the competition and 78 more than Otago (432).
  • The Landers have conceded seven penalties per match (on average) this year, fewer than any other side in Super Rugby.
  • Aaron Smith has provided 11 try assists in Super Rugby 2019, the most of any player in the playoffs, second is Quade Cooper – Rebels – 12).
  • The Crusaders have never lost a home Super Rugby knockout match (21-0), insane!
  • It has been three years and 29 matches since they last lost in Christchurch.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

Owen Franks runs out for his 150th Super Rugby match to the delight of the home support. Ben Smith is back after being out for a month with a hamstring strain.

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

1.00: PEEEEP! Referee Jaco Peyper gets us underway in Christchurch.

2.00: Some good play from both teams to open the quarter-final. The Crusaders carried forward, winning an early penalty after Tom Franklin infringes.

3.00: PENALTY! Richie Mo’unga opens the scoring. 3-0

4.00: Accidental offsides against the hosts. The Highlanders have the scrum on the Saders’ 22.

5.00: The visitors get the free kick; they take it quickly and rumble into the Crusaders’ 22.

6.00: NO TRY! Aaron Smith goes close but is stopped short of the try line. The ball is recycled quickly to Jackson Hemopo. The lock does not release the ball, playing it on the ground, before reaching out to place the ball on the line. Penalty to the home team. 3-0

9.00: Another scrum goes the way of the Highlanders. They have the better of the set-piece, so far.

10.00: Ryan Crotty intercepts a stray pass, but the Highlanders win back possession and are near the Crusaders’ 22.

11.00: Waisake Naholo gathers the kick-pass, but he is tackled into touch, but Mr Peyper was playing advantage for offsides against the hosts.

12.00: Josh Ioane calls for the kicking-tee.

13.00: MISS! The ball strikes the left-hand post and falls into the hands of the Crusaders, who counter-attack from their 22. 3-0

14.00: The Saders have missed four tackles, already.

15.00: Mo’unga clears to halfway after his forwards won the opposition’s lineout.

16.00: David Havili gets back to save the day for his side, tackling Naholo into touch after another pin-point cross-kick by Ioane.

17.00: TRY! Another lineout steal by the visitors. Franklin cleaned up the loose ball. The ball is sent wide to Rob Thompson, who sucks in two defenders before popping to Ben Smith. The fullback drew the last defender and put Patelesio Tomkinson away. 3-5

18.00: CONVERSION! Ioane makes no mistake this time from out wide. 3-7

19.00: The Crusaders should have won a penalty, but Whetukamokamo Douglas’ tackle on Franklin was high.

20.00: Not straight – again. That is one each, and a steal so far in the few lineouts in the opening quarter.

21.00: The Crusaders win the scrum-penalty and Mo’unga kicks to the corner.

22.00: TRY! The Crusaders suck in the away forwards before shifting the ball to the backs. A smart loop by Mo’unga sees the first five put Havili through a massive hole to score under the sticks. Naholo shot the line, leaving the gap. 8-7

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

27.00: Sevu Reece cannot grab the bouncing ball after Kieran Read’s break off the scrum. Reece’s in-field kick is not taken by Crotty; the Highlanders win possession and clear.

29.00: TRY! Mo’unga is over in the corner, taking Douglas’ offload. Crotty and George Bridge also had a hand in the build-up to the flyhalf’s score. 15-7

30.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga converts his try. 17-7

33.00: Five-metre scrum to the visitors after Goodhue carried Ioane’s kick over his try line.

35.00: The scrum is reset.

36.00: TRY! Teihorangi Walden crashes over after slipping Goodhue’s tackle. Aaron Smith switched play from left to right from the base of the scrum. His accurate pass is taken on the gain line by Walden, whose angled run opens the space for him to break the tackle and score. 17-12

37.00: CONVERSION! Ioane adds the extras. 17-14

39.00: Penalty to the hosts, who kick to the Landers’ 22.

41.00: The hooter sounds, the Crusaders lose another lineout, and Aaron Smith clears. Phew!

The halftime score was Crusaders 17 Highlanders 14

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

43.00: Highlanders win a penalty, but Ioane’s kick does not find touch. Havili gathers and clears. Liam Coltman wins another turnover at the breakdown; the Highlanders come again.

46.00: YELLOW CARD! Liam Squire is sin-binned for not wrapping his arms around Douglas in the tackle. The TMO and ref applied the letter of the law because there wasn’t any malice by Squire. 17-14

48.00: TRY! Douglas flops over the try line from a driving maul. The Highlanders did not engage with the maul and are arguing with Mr Peyepr about the try. They did not engage, allowing the home team to march forward and score, sending one player to sack the maul. It didn’t work. 22-14

49.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds another two. 24-14

51.00: The Crusaders are dominating, now.

55.00: TRY! Michael Alaalatoa crashes over from close range. The Crusaders forwards are rampant, using the extra man to perfection. 29-14

56.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga slots the conversion through the posts. 31-14

57.00: Squire is back on the field.

60.00: We are entering the final quarter of the game, the visitors need to score quickly, and three times if they want to progress.

63.00: The game is slowing down after all the substitutions. The scrums are being reset several times, too.

65.00: Another scrum, this time in midfield near the Highlanders’ 22.

67.00: The game is winding down and there is no way back for Aaron Mauger’s men.

69.00: Ben Smith leaves the field to a standing ovation from all four corners of the ground.

69.00: TRY! Mo’unga strips the ball from Marty Banks and dots down for the game-killing score, his second of the night. 36-14

70.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga’s last act is to kick his fifth conversion. 38-14

73.00: It’s a bit scrappy, but that’s too be expected.

75.00: The highlanders knock on another pass. Scrum to the hosts.

79.00: Ioane goes close, but is dragged down before the line. The Highlanders look for the consolation.

81.00: The hooter sounds, the ball is won at the breakdown, and Mitchell Drummond clears to touch. The Crusaders continue their home dominance, it’s their 30th unbeaten match going back to 2016 as they move to the semi-final.


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The final score is Crusaders 38 (17) Highlanders 14 (14)


Tries – Havili, Mo’unga (2), Douglas, Alaalatoa
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (5)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Tomkinson, Walden
Pen –
Con – J. Ioane (2)
Drop –
Cards – Squire (Yellow, 46′)

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Ben Skeen



15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.


15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patelesio Tomkinson, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Elliot Dixon.

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