Crusaders edge Hurricanes in contentious Super Rugby clash
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Crusaders have clung to a three-point lead for 33 minutes to beat the Hurricanes 24-21 in a contentious Super Rugby Pacific match that featured seven lead changes.
There were six lead changes in the first half of Saturday’s match in Wellington and only two scoring plays in the second half, which outweighed the first for drama.
The excitement persisted until the last minute when the Hurricanes had a penalty which would have allowed them to level the match at 24-24 and take it to golden-point extra time. They chose instead to kick for touch in the hope of a match-winning try.
The Crusaders contested the line-out in the air and managed to wrestle the ball from the Hurricanes in what seemed an obvious penalty offence.
But the referee instead found a knock-on by the Hurricanes and blew for full-time, leaving the Crusaders with a contentious win.
“I’m lost for words,” Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea. “We came out here and wanted to prove a point against the Crusaders who are the best team in this competition.
“Without sounding disrespectful, I’d just like the officials to demand better.”
The ending was unfortunate in a match of such quality. In a highly physical contest, the teams exchanged scores throughout the first half before the Hurricanes went to the break with an 18-17 lead.
The second half was full of action but low on actual scoring. Brothers Ardie and Julian Savea were superb ball-carriers for the Hurricanes but the Crusaders held out their attacks and were able to exert pressure in the Hurricanes’ territory through a dominant scrum.
The Hurricanes extended their lead to 21-17 with a penalty in the fifth minute of the second spell.
But the Crusaders wrested back the lead with a try to Ethan Blackadder which gave them their eventual three-point margin.
“I was glad we hung tight there. We worked and we just hung on,” Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said.
Tries: Kirifi, Moorby
Pens: Barrett 3
Tries: Jordan, Strange, Bridge, Blackadder
Cons: Mo’unga 2
Hurricanes: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Te Kamaka Howden, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Alex Fidow, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Caleb Delany, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Bailyn Sullivan, 23 Ruben Love.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Jackson, 17 George Bower, 18 Tamaiti Williams, 19 Zach Gallagher, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill& Dan Waenga
TMO: Chris Hart