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Crusaders sink to new low in Super Rugby

SUPER RUGBY FRIDAY WRAP: Forward Justin Sangster scored a try in the final minute to give the Hurricanes a 14-10 triumph over the Crusaders on Friday and keep the Super Rugby champions winless.

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The seven-time defending champion Crusaders couldn’t hold out as they crashed to four straight defeats for the first time in their history, heaping more pressure on new coach Rob Penney.

Playing their first match at home in Christchurch after opening with three losses on the road, Penney’s team hit the front against the competition leaders in the 71st minute through a penalty to flyhalf Riley Hohepa.

However, the Crusaders were reduced to 14 men soon afterwards when reserve lock Jamie Hannah was shown a yellow card.

The Hurricanes swung onto the attack and Sangster powered over for his team’s second try, which was converted by Brett Cameron.

Crusaders captain David Havili refused to use his team’s long injury list as an excuse.

“We’re trying really hard but it’s just not sticking,” the All Blacks midfield back said.

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“We gave ourselves a chance in the contest tonight [Friday] but we couldn’t really finish it off.

“It’s frustrating but the boys have to stick tight. We’ve got a young group turning up giving it a go and that’s all we can ask for.”

Regular Crusaders skipper Scott Barrett became the team’s latest injury casualty when he suffered a fractured finger during their previous loss, to the Fijian Drua.

Barrett was among seven All Blacks the Crusaders had unavailable with injury this week.

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The visitors made a fast start to a game dominated by bruising defence, scoring a try through their All Black prop Tyrel Lomax to lead 7-0 at half-time.

Crusaders loose forward Cullen Grace scored from close range to level the scores midway through the second spell but they paid for their ill-discipline over the closing stages.

Veteran Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara said he relished a rare win in Christchurch against the perennial competition giants.

“We know they haven’t started the season the way they wanted to but the Crusaders are always a force to be reckoned with,” Perenara said.

“Winning here hasn’t happened a bunch of times so we cherish each time we get one.”

Queensland thump Rebels

*Meanwhile, Queensland have confirmed their status as Australia’s top Super Rugby Pacific team, consigning Melbourne to a hefty 26-53 home-ground loss.

The Reds entered the Round Four clash in third spot, one above the Rebels but looked a cut above for much of Friday’s match in Melbourne.

Queensland set up the win with five first-half tries to build to a 33-7 lead at half-time, then added three more after the break.

Lock Seru Uru was a standout, claiming two tries.

It was a gutsy effort for the Reds, who had a short turn-around after their rousing victory over the competition heavyweight Chiefs last round.

The Rebels were disappointing in the first half, with their highly-rated, forward pack led by former Red Taniela Tupou, failing to fire.

Melbourne started the second half in better shape and were first on the scoreboard as they started to move the ball as well as reducing their errors.

They scored two tries, through wing Glen Vaihu and reserve prop Isaac Aedo Kailea, in the space of five minutes to close the gap to 33-19.

But their comeback was snuffed out when Vaihu gifted the Reds a try.

Stopping the ball going over the sideline, he threw it back inside – straight into the hands of Queensland centre Josh Flook, who strolled to the tryline.

While the Rebels added another try through Tuaina Taii Tualima, momentum was all the Reds’ way.

They pushed past the half century through reserve hooker Josh Nasser while Flook added a second to wrap up a comprehensive win.

Another defeat for Force

*The Western Force’s finals hopes are already dangling by a thread after they slumped to a 14-22 Super Rugby Pacific loss to Moana Pasifika.

The Force were made to pay for their ill-discipline yet again, losing the penalty count 2-9 in the first half of Friday’s match in Perth.

The loss leaves the Force nursing a 0-4 record, and facing a mountain to climb to make the top-eight.

The injury-hit Force are already eight points adrift of eighth-placed Moana, and they face the in-form Queensland Reds next week.

The Force were left to rue a series of missed opportunities early in the match.

No.8 Will Harris appeared set to score in the ninth minute after nice build-up play from flyhalf Ben Donaldson.

But instead of charging to the line, Harris dished off a somewhat wayward pass to Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, who dropped the ball while running at full pace.

Two minutes later, Donaldson unleashed a clearly-forward pass to snuff out another golden chance for the Force.

Moana hooker Sama Malolo opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he barged over for a try.

But the Force produced some party tricks to get a try of their own four minutes later.

Wing Chase Tiatia launched a chip kick as soon as he received the ball on the wing, and outside centre Bayley Kuenzle sprinted forward to collect the bouncing ball and race over.

The Force entered the match determined to fix up their ill-discipline, but the penalty count read 6-0 against them by the 25-minute mark.

Flank Carlo Tizzano was yellow carded in the 32nd minute for a dangerous tackle that resulted in a clash of heads with Moana fullback Danny Toala.

The visitors made the most of the numerical advantage, with former Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu barging over to give his team a 12-7 lead at half-time.

The deficit would have been even bigger had another former Wallaby – Christian Leali’ifano – not missed an easy penalty and conversion attempt.

Leali’ifano made up for those misses by playing a key role in Moana’s next try early in the second half.

The 36-year-old sneaked into place to grab a long line-out, and he dished off a quick pass for wing Kyren Taumoefolau to run 50m untouched to the line, making it 19-7.

The gap was closed back to five points in the 61st minute when Tizzano crossed from a rolling maul and Donaldson – after missing two easy penalties – nailed the conversion.

But the Force’s victory hopes were sunk in the 72nd minute when substitute flyhalf William Havili nailed a 53m penalty, giving the visitors an eight-point buffer.

The Western Force suffered a blow before kick-off when star Wallabies recruit Nic White was ruled out with knee swelling.

The scores and scorers:

Crusaders 10-14 Hurricanes

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Try: Grace
Con: Hohepa
Pen: Hohepa

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Lomax, Sangster
Cons: Cameron 2

Yellow cards: Jamie Hannah (Crusaders, 77′ – cynical play); Owen Franks (Crusaders, 81′ – foul play)

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 David Havili (captain), 11 Macca Springer, 10 Riley Hohepa, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Dominic Gardiner, 5 Zach Gallagher, 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 George Bell, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Ioane Moananu, 17 Finlay Brewis, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Tahlor Cahill, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Dallas McLeod.

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor (co-captain), 12 Riley Higgins, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Tucker, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua (co-captain), 1 Tevita Mafileo.
Reserves: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Salesi Rayasi.

Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon
TMO: Chris Hart

Melbourne Rebels 26-53 Reds

The scorers:

For Melbourne Rebels:
Tries: Kellaway, Vaihu, Kailea, Tualima
Cons: Gordon 3

For Reds:
Tries: Uru 2, Faessler, Wright, Ravai, Flook 2, Nasser
Cons: McLaughlin-Phillips 4, Lynagh
Pen: Lynagh

Teams:

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Filipo Daugunu, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Rob Leota (captain), 7 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Dobbins, 17 Isaac Kailea, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Maciu Nabolakasi, 21 Angelo Smith, 22 Jake Strachan, 23 James Tuttle.

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Isaac Henry, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, 9 Tate McDermott (co-captain), 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (co-captain), 5 Ryan Smith, 4 Seru Uru, 3 Zane Nonggorr, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Peni Ravai.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 George Blake, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Cormac Daly, 20 John Bryant, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Tom Lynagh, 23 Jordan Petaia.

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Matt Kellahan, George Myers
TMO: Brett Cronan

Western Force 14-22 Moana Pasifika

The scorers:

For Western Force:
Tries: Kuenzle, Tizzano
Cons: Donaldson 2

For Moana Pasifika:
Tries: Malolo, Kepu, Taumoefolau
Cons: Leali’ifano 2
Pen: Havili

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Max Burey, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Bayley Kuenzle, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 8 Will Harris, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Tim Anstee, 5 Jeremy Williams (captain), 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Ryan Coxon.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Josh Bartlett, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Lopeti Faifua, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Ollie Callan, 22 Nic White, 23 George Poolman.

Moana Pasifika: 15 Danny Toala, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Karen Taumoefolau, 10 Christian Lealifano, 9 Ere Enari, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (captain), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Sama Malolo, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Samiuela Moli, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Irie Papuni, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 William Havili, 23 Pepesana Patafilo.

Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Jordan Kaminski, Ben Jones
TMO: Kyle Burnett

Sources: AFP & AAP

 

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