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Crusaders end tour on high against Bristol

MATCH REPORT: The Crusaders ended their tour of the Northern hemisphere as part of their pre-season warm-up games for Super Rugby with a 31-14 victory over Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate on Friday night.


Coming off a 19-21 loss to Munster a week ago, the Super Rugby visitors scored five tries with Macca Springer and Levi Auma scoring a brace each.

The home-side scored first when hooker Davies went over thanks to a line-out pushover to take the early 7-0 lead in the 27th minute.

But the New Zealanders hit back before the break when wing Springer crossed in the corner. The try was converted by Rivez Reihana to equal the score at the turnaround.

Springer completed his brace in the 52nd minute when he collected a pinpoint kick before finishing, with Reihana again firing over the two points to make it a 14-7 lead.

The Bears responded soon thereafter as a break from centre James Williams sent scrumhalf Kieran Marmion over  before AJ MacGinty leveled the scores at 14 apiece.

The back and forth continued in Bristol when replacement Aumua powered over from close range before the centre crossed again soon after to move the visitors 26-14 up.


Rob Penney’s side added one further score before the end when another replacement, Nathan Hotham, crossed the whitewash to put the seal on an impressive second-half showing.

The Crusaders head home for their final pre-season fixture against the Highlanders next week.

The reigning champions kick off their regular season schedule away to the Chiefs on Friday, February 23 in their first campaign since the departure of boss Scott Robertson.

The Bears are back in Premiership action on Friday, March 22 against Northampton Saints.


For Bristol:
Tries: Davies, Marmion
Cons: MacGinty 2

For Crusaders:
Tries: Springer 2, Auma 2, Hotham
Cons: Reihana 2, Kemara


Bristol Bears: 15 Rich Lane, 14 Noah Heward, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 James Williams, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Fitz Harding, 6 Joe Owen, 5 Joe Batley, 4 Steven Luatua, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Fred Davies, 1 Sam Grahamslaw
Replacements: 16 Tomas Gwilliam, 17 Andrew Turner, 18 Jonny Benz-Salomon, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Paddy Pearce, 21 Dan Thomas, 22 Kieran Marmion, 23 Sam Worsley, 24 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 25 Virimi Vakatawa, 26 Gabriel Ibitoye

Crusaders: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jone Rova, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Rivez Reihana, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Corey Kellow, 6 Dominic Gardiner, 5 Jamie Hannah, 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Seb Calder, 2 George Bell, 1 Kershawl Sykes-Martin
Replacements: 16 Ioane Moananu, 17 George Bower, 18 Ryan Coxon, 19 Antonio Shalfoon, 20 Fletcher Anderson, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Taha Kemara, 23 Levi Aumua, 24 Taine Robinson, 25 Jack Gray, 26 Gus Brown

Referee: Hamish Smales

Sources @BristolBears, @CrusadersRugby

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