Crusaders down Blues, Hurricanes punish Moana
SUPER RUGBY WRAP: The Crusaders have scored a single try in each half to beat the Blues 15-3 in an edgy, pivotal match in Super Rugby Pacific.
The face-off between the fourth-placed Blues and fifth-placed Crusaders was much-anticipated and watched by a capacity crowd of 17 000 in Christchurch.
But while it was physically intense, it provided little in terms of excitement.
The Crusaders – who rose to third on the ladder with victory – hogged possession, especially in the first half when the few shreds the Blues obtained were wastefully kicked away by flyhalf Beauden Barrett.
Possession evened out to about 60-40 in favour of the Crusaders after the break but they retained the advantage in terms of territory, with the Blues unable to marshal a coherent attack.
The Blues’ defence stayed solid, not least during a 20-minute period in the second half when their captain Dalton Papali’i was red-carded for a high tackle on Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga.
They did not concede a point in that period but they missed around 25 tackles overall and that was crucial as the Crusaders punched through midfield with big ball-carrying forwards.
The hosts did not have much to defend against. The Blues made only two visits to their 22 all-match, and any nascent attacks from further out were quickly shut down.
Beauden Barrett set in motion an end-to-end kick-and-chase late in the match but it was shut down on the try line by Crusaders fullback Will Jordan.
“The game was won with our defence,” Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said.
“To hold them to three points was a huge testament.
“At times it was a bit ugly and we didn’t fire too many shots but we closed down their game and a lot of their firepower didn’t get into the game.”
Thirty minutes passed before the first points came with a try to Crusaders backrower Quinten Strange.
Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty and Mo’unga another and that ended the first-half scoring.
In the third minute after the restart, winger Leicester Fainga’anuku finished a long-distance try from a wayward Blues’ kick but the next 37 minutes were scoreless.
“There was plenty of defence out there tonight and some sore bodies,” Blues captain Beauden Barrett said.
“They just took their opportunities. There weren’t many in that game.
“When we sped the ball up in the second half we started to see some opportunities through the middle but we weren’t good enough to execute and finish.”
Hat-trick magic from Savea
Moana Pasifika have been overrun in Wellington, where the Hurricanes scored their first try inside two minutes and added 10 more in a record 71-22 win, their eighth victory from 11 matches.
The second-placed Hurricanes posted their highest Super Rugby score as they bounce back from last week’s shock loss to the Fijian Drua.
Three of their tries went to captain Ardie Savea, whose tireless ball-carrying kept the Hurricanes on the front foot.
“I’m proud of the boys’ effort ,” Savea said.
“We knew what Moana would bring. I’m just happy the boys bounced back after last week and produced a good performance in front of our fans.”
Moana Pasifika also had a try inside five minutes and were competitive at first in a match that produced 48 first-half points.
The Hurricanes led 29-19 at halftime, then outscored the visitors 42-3 after the break, adding six tries including Savea’s hat-trick.
The scrum was a weapon for the Hurricanes in the first half, and in the second their fast passing and offloading ability was too much for Moana Pasifika.
Kini Naholo scored two tries, while Billy Proctor, Jordie Barrett and Aidan Morgan also touched down for the Hurricanes in the first half.
Jacob Devery, Salesi Rayasi and Caleb Delaney added to Savea’s three tries in the second period.
The most spectacular might have been Rayasi’s try. The last pass came from Morgan who tried to hurdle two defenders under the posts and was suspended in mid-air when the winger scored.
The NSW Waratahs have regained the Weary Dunlop Shield and dealt Melbourne’s play-off hopes a potentially fatal blow with a spirited 38-20 comeback win in Sydney.
While the Rebels were their own worst enemies, the Waratahs iced their chances to battle back from 14-0 down on Saturday night and take a giant stride towards the playoffs with a third-straight victory.
The results and scorers:
Crusaders 15-3 Blues
Tries: Fainga’anuku, Strange
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Dallas McLeod, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Christian Lio-Willie, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Tamaiti Williams, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Zach Gallagher, 20 Sione Havili Talitui, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Jack Goodhue
Blues: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii (captain), 6 Adrian Choat, 5 Sam Darry, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ofa Tuungafasi
Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Jordan Lay, 18 James Lay, 19 Cameron Suafoa, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryce Heem, 23 AJ Lam
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: James Doleman & Jono Bredin
TMO: Brett Cronan
Hurricanes 71-22 Moano Pasifika
Tries: Proctor, Barrett, Morgan, Naholo 2, A. Savea 3, Devery, Rayasi, Delany.
Cons: Barrett 7
For Moana Pasifika:
Tries: Taefu, Tuitavuki , Toala
Cons: McClutchie 2
Hurricanes: 15 Harry Godfrey, 14 Salesi Rayasi, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Justin Sangster, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Jacob Devery, 1 Tevita Mafileo
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Caleb Delany, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Logan Henry, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Josh Moorby
Moana Pasifika: 15 Tomasi Alosio, 14 Tima Fainga’anuku, 13 Danny Toala, 12 Henry Taefu (captain), 11 Anzelo Tuitavuki, 10 Lincoln McClutchie, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Penitoa Finau, 6 Sione Tu’ipulotu, 5 Mahonri Ngakura, 4 Alex Robbie, 3 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 2 Luteru Tolau, 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth
Replacements: 16 Joe Royal, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Chris Apoua, 19 Potu Leavasa, 20 Jonah Mau’u, 21 Manu Paea, 22 D’Angelo Leuila, 23 Lolagi Visinia
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey & Marcus Playle
TMO: Glenn Newman
Waratahs 38-20 Melbourne Rebels
For the Waratahs
Tries: Gordon, Nawaqanitawase, Perese, Penalty tries 2
Cons: Donaldson 3; penalty tries do not require conversions
For the Rebels
Tries: Hodge, Ioane
Cons: Hodge 2
Pens: Hodge 2
Waratahs: 15 Max Jorgensen, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Langi Gleeson, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Will Harris, 5 Hugh Sinclair, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Dave Porecki, 1 Te Tera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Archer Holz, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Charlie Gamble, 21 Teddy Wilson, 22 Joey Walton, 23 Harry Wilson.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brad Wilkin (captain), 6 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Tim Cardell, 20 Tamati Ioane, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Stacey Ili, 23 Joe Pincus.
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Jordan Way, David Conway
TMO: James Leckie