The Crusaders have played the Highlanders 36 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Crusaders have won 25 matches, lost 11 times and drawn once.
The Crusaders 25 wins give them a record of winning 68% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of venue.
- Super Rugby’s 10-times champions have won six of their last seven completed games against the Highlanders (L1), including their last three on the bounce.
- Each of the Crusaders‘ previous three victories against the Highlanders has been by a margin of more than 20 points.
- Four of the last seven New Zealand derbies in Super Rugby have been won by the team trailing at half-time on the day, with two of those four games seeing the Crusaders let the lead slip.
- ‘Saders are undefeated in their last 32 Super Rugby games on home turf (W31, D1), allowing their opposition a losing bonus point only four times in that stretch.
- The Highlanders have conceded fewer metres (237), offloads (3) and defenders beaten (14) per game than any other team so far this Super Rugby season.
- Crusaders duo David Havili (9) and Jack Goodhue (6) have made more offloads this Super Rugby season than any other players in the competition.
this Super Rugby season than any other players in the competition.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Welcome to the first Super Rugby game of round 4 at a beautiful and warm evening in Christchurch. There is a good crowd at Orangetheory Stadium for the defending champions’ first home game of the campaign.
1.00: PEEEEP! Referee Mike Fraser blows his whistle and we are underway in New Zealand. There is a strong breeze swirling about. The Crusaders win the first lineout and attack near halfway.
2.00: The hosts lose possession after a promising attack; scrum to the visitors.
4.00: Aaron Smith starts the attack from the scrum, breaking into the opposition’s 22. Smith combined with Kirisi Kuridrani, who was brought down by some quality defending. The Highlanders continued the attack, going through almost a dozen phases. Josh Ioane went close a couple of times but he could not get past Bryn Hall. Smith then lost the ball trying to stretch for the goal-line. However, the ref was playing advantage for offside.
5.00: PENALTY! Josh Ioane puts the visitors on the scoreboard. 0-3
7.00: Another Highlanders attack comes to nought, they give away a penalty outside the ‘Saders’ 22, allowing the home team to clear the danger.
10.00: Superb defending by the visitors, especially Liam Coltman, who got over the ball, winning a penalty at the ruck. Shannon Frizell is slow to get up and is getting treatment from the medics.
12.00: Codie Taylor loses possession neat the ‘Landers’ try-line. The ball is booted deep but is held up in the wind. Scott Robertson’s men decide to run the ball from their half; however, the ball is lost near the goal-line.
13.00: Sevu Reece’s kick is caught by Lentjes. Mitchell Dunshea started the attack but was stopped by Michael Collins.
14.00: TRY! Codie Taylor scores after an end-to-end action. The Highlanders kicked the ball away three times to the Crusaders, who decided to keep the ball-in-hand. It worked as Bridge and Taylor combined after Bridge’s good offload in the tackle of Marino Mikaele-Tu’u. 5-3
15.00: CONVERSION! David Havili adds the extras. 7-3
17.00: We’ve had a couple of reset scrums after a double knock-on.
18.00: The Crusaders are looking dangerous with another sustained attack.
20.00: TRY! Flanker Tom Christie scores in the corner after Jack Goodhue stands up three defenders with a jinking run. Goodhue drew two defenders, more importantly, the last one before sending Christie away down the touchline to score. 12-7
21.00: MISS! Havili misses from out wide. 12-7
22.00: Rob Tompson is looking dangerous; he’s busting through tackles and setting up his team’s attacks with strong running. He keeps the play alive and offers his team something intangible.
23.00: TRY! Michael Collins scores in the corner, under pressure from Reece, slipping the wing’s weak tackle to strike back immediately for his side. 12-8
25.00: MISS! Ioane pushes his kick wide. 12-8
26.00: TRY! Havili slips Ioane’s tackle, Hall pokes his head around, sees Braydon Ennor running an angled run from the side of the ruck, pops a pass to Ennor, who races through a gap to score under the posts. 17-8
27.00: CONVERSION! Hall kicks the conversion because Havili is getting treatment. The stand-in skipper looked to have hurt his knee in a double-tackle in the build-up to the score. 19-8
29.00: The visitors are reeling; it’s wave after wave of attacks. They are defending inside their 22.
31.00: The hosts go quickly after an early tackle won them a penalty.
33.00: TRY! Bridge scoops up a lost by from collins. The attack came from the penalty, which Hall took quickly, starting the attack that led to the five-pointer. 24.8
34.00: CONVERSION! Hall hits the ball sweetly through the middle. Game over! 26-8
36.00: Smith knocks on into touch, and the Crusaders opt for a scrum. The Highlanders have missed 12 tackles so far, which has killed them. They win a scrum-penalty for collapsing. Michael Alaalatoa is not impressed.
37.00: Frizell, who’s been in the wars today, loses the ball forward in contact from Smith’s flat-looking pass on the home team’s 22.
39.00: Mikaele-Tu’u gives away a penalty for a high tackle. It gives Roberton’s men one last chance before the break to finish this game as a contest.
40.00: Thompson takes the mark. He takes his time, waiting for the hooter.
41,00: Smith takes the pass, and boots the ball into the stands.
The halftime score was Crusaders 26 Highlanders 8
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Orangetheory Stadium.
43.00: The Crusaders start the second half as they finished the first, with a long, sustained attack before a knock-on kills a promising attack.
44.00: Smith counter-attacks, setting up a drive up the field before kicking the ball away into touch.
45.00: YELLOW CARD! The TMO and ref confirm that Frizell lifted Ennor and dumped him on his back. It’s past the horizontal, so the flank is off for 10 minutes. 26-8
47.00: Richie Mo’unga broke from his half after the lineout, racing away through a huge gap into the Highlanders’ 22. The ball is recycled quickly, but after a few phases, Bridge, Ennor and Reece’s flick-passes end with Reece knocking on.
50.00: Havili drops a high-ball. Hall leaves the field. Scrum to the Highlanders on halfway.
52.00: More Smith magic, but Lentjes cannot get hold of smith’s kick or the visitors would have had their second try.
53.00: Luke Romano gives away a penalty, allowing the ‘Landers to kick to the corner.
54.00: BIG DEFENCE! The Highlanders’ rolling maul is snuffed out by a counter-shove and a big tackle by Cullen Grace, knocking the ball-carrier backwards and winning possession for the Crusaders.
55.00: SCRUM-PENALTY! The Crusaders are dominating every facet of play. They have coped well and should have scored despite being a man down.
57.00: Havili picks the ball from his boot-laces, goes through a huge gap, but the fullback picks the wrong pass, going wide to Reece instead of inside to the supporting runner.
59.00: The crowd is singing along to the music playing around the ground, their team is winning (as usual); it’s Friday, party time.
61.00: Another driving maul by the Highlanders inside the home side’s 22.
63.00: TRY! Mauger’s men go six phases before Mitch Hunt’s grubber gives away the ball. The hosts try a counter but give the ball away. The visitors went wide to Jona Nareki after a slick backline move between Hunt and Ioane. 26-13
65.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 26-13
68.00: The Highlanders are pin the Crusaders back inside their 22 with some accurate kicking.
69.00: Robertson’s men have taken their foot off the gas since the interval; it has been all Highlanders, except for some changes when Frizell was in the bin.
71.00: The Crusaders have gone 10 phases from inside their half before Frizell gives away another penalty at the ruck. Both sets of players look tired. Crusaders kick to the 22.
73.00: Josh McKay’s early tackle allows the hosts to kick to the corner.
74.00: TRY! Sione Havili powers over from a smart lineout move, driving through Daniel Lienert-Brown for the bonus-point try. 31-13
75.00: CONVERSION! Mitchell Drummond slots the two-pointer. 33-13
76.00: Highlanders kick a penalty to the home side’s 22.
78.00: The Highlanders are not giving up, but cannot break the red wall.
81.00: The hooter sounds, the ball kicked into the crowd.
The final score is Crusaders 33 (26) Highlanders 13 (8)
Tries – Taylor, Christie, Ennor, Bridge, S. Havili
Con – D. Havili, Hall (2), Drummond
Tries – Collins, Nareki
Pen – J. Ioane
Cards – Frizell (Yellow, 46′)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Chris Hart
Head Coach: Scott Robertson
15 David Havili (captain), 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isi Tuungafasi, 18 George Bower, 19 Ethan Roots (debut), 20 Sione Havili, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku.
Head Coach: Aaron Mauger
15 Michael Collins, 14 Kirisi Kuridrani, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Josh Ioane, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Conan O’Donnell, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Teihorangi Walden, 23 Josh McKay.