Super Rugby

Crusaders beat Highlanders in Christchurch




The Crusaders return to Super Rugby after missing round 17 with a bye and this weekend they are at home in Christchurch where they will host the Highlanders.

These teams met earlier this season and the Highlanders beat the Crusaders in Dunedin 25-17. This time though the Crusaders will have home advantage.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

Wyatt Crockett walks out for his 200th Super Rugby appearance with his two children. Crocket made his debut against the Highlanders back in 2006. What an achievement! 

Kieran Read also makes his first appearance of the season after a long hiatus. 

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at ‘Wyatt Crocket Stadium’.

3.00: TRY! George Bridge finishes in the corner for his 10th try of the season. The Crusaders went 18 phases after Lima Sopoaga’s clearance did not find touch. 5-0

5.00: MISS! The conversion is wide. 5-0

6.00: Joe Moody was injured in the build-up to Bridge’s try and is off and on comes Crocket for his 200th Super Rugby appearance to a standing ovation.

9.00: The Highlanders have the penalty advantage after the Crusaders illegally sack their driving maul, five metres out. They are also pinged for offsides. The visitors opt for a 5m scrum, just to the right of the posts.

11.00: The linesman tells the referee that there was another offside by the home team. Ben Smith tells Brendan Pickerill that that is the fourth infringement. Mr Pickerill replies that it is three. The Crusaders win the next scrum-penalty.

13.00: Luke Whitelock is caught for sealing off the ruck. Richie Mo’unga kicks to the 22.

14.00: TRY David Havili! The Crusaders go coast-to-coast in typical fashion. Ryan Crotty made the break inside the 22 before Bryn Hall threw a long, floating skip-pass out to Havilli on the touchline, who walks over for the score – brilliant. 10-0

15.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds the extras. 12-0

18.00: Crocket is pinged for collapsing the scrum. Sopoaga kicks to the 22.

19.00: TRY! Luke Whitelock breaks, is tackled under the posts, but offloads to the onrushing support runner Tyrel Lomax, who is over under the sticks. Sensational by Whitelock. 12-5

19.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga adds the extras. 12-7

21.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga slots the kick from in front. 15-7

23.00: The Highlanders attack is halted for hands in the ruck by Kieran Read. The referee talks to Whitelock about the repeated infringements.

24.00: PENALTY! Sopoaga reduces the deficit. 15-10

26.00: It’s tit for tat with the collapsing penalties at the scrum. This time it’s Lomax who is at the ref’s mercy. Mo’unga kicks to the 22.

27.00: Tei Walden takes man and ball. Liam Squire is first to the breakdown and wins the penalty after Crotty is caught holding. That’s a huge play by Squire. Sopoaga clears.

29.00: Walden is penalised for holding. Mo’unga calls for the tee.

30.00: PENALTY! The first-five eight adds another three. 18-10

32.00: The Crusaders are inside the Highlanders 22 after a break by Read and Crotty. Aaron Smith saves the day, but the home side has an attacking lineout in the red zone.

34.00: The Highlanders with some big defence, affecting the maul turnover and getting the scrum-feed.

36.00: TRY! It’s brilliant by the visitors. Squire wins the turnover, deep inside his half. Aaron Smith and Richard Buckman turn defence into attack. the halfback played Sopoaga on the inside and the first-five broke into enemy territory. He played the fullback on his inside and Ben Smith is over. 18-15

37.00: CONVERSION! It’s a one-point ball-game. 18-17

40.00: Another lost lineout by the visitors and the home team attack.

41.00: The hooter sounds with the Crusaders on the attack.

42.00: TRY! Scott Barrett finishes off a superb move. Crockett made the break, offloaded to Matt Todd, who played the supporting Andrew Makalio. The hooker takes a tackle, looks inside, and sees Barrett. Wonderful try and a typical dagger by the Crusaders, right on halftime. 23-17

43.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga extends his side’s lead. 25-17

The halftime score was Crusaders 25 Highlanders 17

42.00: Tom Franklin drops Luke Whitelock’s no-look, behind-the-back pass with acres of space and a possible try.

43.00: TRY! Hall makes the mini-break, Mo’unga puts the kick-chase, beats Ben Smith and Sopoaga to the bouncing ball, gathers and scores. 30-17

CONVERSION! The first-five converts his try. 32-17

46.00: TRY! Superb timing from Waisake Naholo, who takes Ron Thompson’s pass and beats three defenders with his pace to score in the corner. Wonderful! 32-22

47.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 32-22

49.00: This is a fantastic match being played at 100 miles an hour. The offloading and support running has been immense.

52.00: Naholo wins the ball, and penalty, at the ruck. Sopoaga clears to halfway.

54.00: Jordan Taufua is pinged for holding. Another lineout inside the Crusaders’ half after Sopoaga finds touch.

55.00: The benches are being emptied which is leading to more mistakes with ball in hand. The game is still open and we WILL see more tries.

58.00: A pattern of play is emerging: Every time the Highlanders get near the Crusaders 22, they knock on or lose the ball forward. The Crusaders are penbalised every time they get into the opposition’s half. Wash, rinse, repeat.

61.00: The game is frantic; both sides looking for more scores. The Highlanders need to get back in the game by scoring next. If the Crusaders cross the whitewash, this game is over.

62.00: Penalty is awarded to the home team. It is 25 metres out and in front of the poles.

63.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga extends his team’s lead to 13. 35-22

65.00: Havili climbs high and takes another good catch. The Highlanders have been using bombs on the Crusaders’ back three in the second-half. It’s a tactic that is back-firing when the Crusaders’ counter-attack. Havili and Bridge have been dangerous with ball in hand.

69.00: TRY! GAME OVER! Mo’unga’s burst of pace sucks in four defenders. He looks wide and throws a long pass to Bridge on the sideline. The winger gathers and is in for his second, and 11th of the season. 40-22

70.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga kicks his fifth conversion and seventh kick of the night. 42-22

73.00: Mo’unga calls for the tee.

74.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga, from in front, kills the game. 45-22

76.00: Ben Smith saves the day after Manasa Mataele’s intercept. The fullback chased the winger and forced him to lose the ball forward with the line at his mercy.

78.00: The game is winding down with some scrum resets.

80.00: The hooter goes… we await another reset, the fifth.

81.00: Penalty for the Crusaders, the crowd calls for Crockett to kick the penalty, but Mo’unga kicks to touch.

Game over.

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

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The final score is Crusaders 45 (25) Highlanders 22 (17)


Tries – Bridge (2), Havili, Barrett, Mo’unga
Pen – Mo’unga (4)
Con – Mo’unga (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Lomax, B. Smith, Naholo
Pen – Sopoaga
Con – Sopoaga (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Aaron Paterson


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Paripari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Miller, 19Jackson Hemopo, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Fletcher Smith.

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