Super Rugby

Crusaders thrash Sunwolves in Christchurch



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The Crusaders will get their first taste of Japanese Super Rugby this weekend. The Sunwolves have been in Super Rugby for over a year but these two teams have never met.

The Sunwolves’ only previous encounter with New Zealand opposition ended in an 83-17 loss to the Hurricanes.

The Crusaders have won their last six games and sit top of the New Zealand Conference. They are unbeaten in their last 14 matches against teams outside of the land of the long white cloud.

The Sunwolves, however, have won one of their six matches this season but pulled off a massive win over the Bulls last week.

The seven-time champion Crusaders are back following a bye-week and have All Black captain Kieran Read back for his first game of the season after being out with a wrist injury, for which he had surgery.

The weather has been terrible after Cyclone Cook tore through New Zealand during the past week and so the field is drenched and will be heavy under foot.

Wyatt Crockett leads the Crusaders out onto the field. Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett will become the most-capped Super Rugby player of all-time.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

BEEP! We are underway in Christchurch.

1.oo: Crockett overtakes retired All Black Keven Mealamu’s record of 175 Super Rugby caps. The 34-year-old made his debut back in 2006 and has played all his games for the Crusaders.

3.00: Scrum to the ‘Saders after they won an early penalty but they knock on and it’s the visitors’ ball on the halfway.

4.00: The Sunwolves have a combined 136 caps, and when the bench is accounted for, it’s 175 – the equal of Crockett. Crazy. The scrum is reset.

5.00: Free kick to the Sunwolves; they kick downfield and some aerial ping-pong ensues.

7.00: Manasa Mataele breaks two tackles but his pass is loose and lost forward. From the resulting scrum, the hosts win a penalty and kick to the corner.

8.00: The Sunwolves stop the driving maul – something no team has been able to do this season against the Crusaders. Scrum to the visitors.

10.00: Interesting fact: Family ties on the wing; Seta Tamanivalu is the uncle of 19-year-old Manasa Mataele.

12.00: The Crusaders attack from deep inside their half. Seta Tamanivalu puts in a little chip kick but the visitors save the day. Lineout to the home team.

13.00: TRY Kieran Read! Wouldn’t you know it? The Crusaders set up a rolling maul. They break early on the second drive and the No 8 powers over with some help from his teammates.

14.00: Richie Mo’unga’s conversion is good.

15.00: Scrum to the Crusaders on the 10 of the visitors.

18.00: Yu Tamura dinks a kick over the onrushing defenders but Timothy Lafaele loses the ball forward trying to offload to Derek Carpenter.

19.00: Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco has not and will not return to the field after failing an HIA. Yuhimaru Mimura will play the rest of the game at No 8 for the Sunwolves.

23.00: The Crusaders are into their 12th phases and are pounding the Sunwolves try line.

24.00: TRY Ben Funnell! The hooker goes over to the left of the left-hand upright, aided by Luke Romano, who helps drive Funnell over the whitewash.

25.00: Mo’unga can’t miss from there.

26.00: YELLOW CARD! TMO is consulted for a dangerous tackle by Seta Tamanivalu on Kotaro Matsushima. The winger tackled the fullback in the air and is sent to the bin for 10 minutes.

27.00: PENALTY! Yu Tamura slots an easy three points from in front. The visitors are on the board.

29.00: TRY Manasa Mataele! Matt Todd passed to fellow loose forward Pete Samu. Samu, going to ground, offloads out the back door with his left hand and sends the winger away to score the third Crusaders try of the night. Wow!

30.00: The conversion is missed. Samu with shades of Dillyn Leyds with that back door pass.

32.00: TRY Manasa Mataele! The winger gets his second score in a few minutes after the Crusaders send the ball through the hands.

33.00: Mo’unga has missed from the touchline.

35.00: Tamanivalu will not come back on the field. The medical staff feel he is not right after that collision with Matsushima. George Bridge will move to the left wing and Mataela will switch to the right wing.

38.00: HAT-TRICK Manasa Mataele! The winger goes over untouched, taking the pass from Jack Goodhue after the Sunwolves kicked the ball away. The Crusaders set up a counter-attack from their half and ended with Funnell passing to Goodhue, who puts the Mataela away for the try.

39.00: Mo’unga’s radar is off from wide areas. That is the first-five-eight’s third miss from the sideline.

40.00: The hooter sounds and that is halftime at AMI Stadium.

The halftime score is Crusaders 29 Sunwolves 3

BEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.

42.00: The Crusaders are almost over for their sixth try but David Havili can’t hang on to the ball. Scrum to the Sunwolves, 10 metres out from their try line.

43.00: The Sunwolves have changed their entire front row but they lose the ball on their put-in. Somehow, the Kiwis don’t score. Lineout to the hosts.

45.00: Read is having an excellent game, carrying the ball with purpose. The visitors can’t stop him.

46.00: TRY Pete Samu! The flanker goes over under the posts after taking the final pass from Funnell. The Crusaders went a dozen phases before scoring.

47.00: Mo’unga must be happy with the field position for this conversion and makes no mistake.

49.00: Both teams are emptying their benches as they look for fresh legs.

50.00: Wyatt Crockett and Kieran Read leave the field to a standing ovation from the home support.

52.00: TRY George Bridge! Mo’unga’s precision cross kick is collected on the full by Bridge who goes over in the corner.

54.00: Marty McKenzie takes over the kicking duties from Mo’unga and slots an excellent sideline conversion.

56.00: The Crusaders are surging forward, again, and are camped on the try line. Held up.

58.00: Another scrum reset.

59.00: TRY Whetu Douglas! The substitute powers over after Mitchell Drummond’s initial break at the base of the scrum.

60.00: McKenzie makes no mistake from in front and that is the Crusaders’ half century.

61.00: The game enters the final quarter and the Sunwolves are really starting to tire.

66.00: The play has stagnated a little but the Crusaders are in complete control; their kicking game has been excellent. The Sunwolves have had to make tackle after tackle and they are out on their feet. The tackle count is 46-115 in favour of the hosts.

69.00: Lineout to the Sunwolves inside the Crusaders’ 22.

70.00: NEARLY! William Tupou knocks on, going for the intercept from Havili’s floated skip pass.

73.00: McKenzie goes close again but the ball is kicked into touch. Sunwolves’ ball and they clear. They must be hoping for the final whistle from referee Nic Berry.

75.00: The Crusaders have a scrum deep inside their 22. They attempt to run it out bu, in the end, they clear into touch on the full. The Japanese side will have an attacking lineout. Can they score?

77.00: Penalty to the hosts, who clear their lines. The Sunwolves’ set pieces have been poor tonight.

79.00: The game is closing out; the home team have a lineout on the halfway.

80.00: The hooter goes as the Crusaders attack. The move breaks down after an accidental offside and Nic Berry calls time.

Full time in Christchurch.

Live In-Play Betting.

The final score is Crusaders 50 (29) Sunwolves 3 (3)


Tries – Read, Funnell, Mataela (3), Samu, Bridge, Douglas
Pen –
Con – Mo’unga (3), McKenzie (2)
Drop –
Cards – Seta Tamanivalu (Yellow, 26th minute)

Tries –
Pen – Tamura
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2: Cam Stone
TMO: Glenn Newman


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Whetu Douglas, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 George Bridge.

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Teruya Goto, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Edward Quirk, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Yuhimaru Mimura, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 William Tupou, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

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