VIDEO: Crusaders' class too much for ill-disciplined Brumbies
SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT: The Crusaders came back from a half-time deficit to stamp their authority on the game and smash the Brumbies 36-14 in Christchurch on Saturday.
The margin is skewed somewhat by a late consolation try from the Brumbies, who held a 7-0 lead at the break, after an impressive first half.
The Brumbies’ try came after the Crusaders were reduced to 14 men, All Black prop Owen Franks sent to the sin bin for an ugly-looking shoulder charge.
However, in the second half the Crusaders showed their true class and controlled all aspects of the contest – with two Brumbies players (Toni Pulu and lock Sam Carter) finding themselves in the sin bin, as their discipline started to waver.
The penalties that blighted their first half – when they conceded eight – disappeared and they found the precision that was missing from their early play.
Captain Matt Todd said the first-half discipline was not good enough.
“They put us under a lot of pressure but we responded which was good,” Todd said.
“We were confident if we held the ball we could get points in the second half.”
The Brumbies, missing injured Wallaby flank David Pocock and resting three other Wallaby forwards in Rory Arnold, Scott Sio and Folau Fainga’a, had a game plan to rattle the Crusaders.
It worked in the first half as they attacked from all angles and worked their way to score the only points in the first half with a converted try by Christian Lealiifano.
Owen Franks, who led the Crusaders on to the field to mark his 150th game with the franchise, was yellow-carded for a dangerous no-arms shoulder charge and the Brumbies cashed in by taking a scrum instead of a close-range penalty and running the ball until a gap opened up.
But the second 40 minutes was a different story, starting with a try to left wing Sevu Reece three minutes after the restart.
Right wing Will Jordan then bagged a double with his first try scored in a head-high tackle which saw his opposite Toni Pulu sent to the sin bin.
Pulu had no sooner returned to the field than the Brumbies lost Sam Carter for 10 minutes for a head-high tackle on the Crusaders backline general Ryan Crotty.
In Carter’s absence Jordan Taufua and Reece scored further tries for the Crusaders to ensure the bonus point before Tevita Kuridrani scored a late consolation try for the visitors.
Man of the match: The forwards did all the hard work for the Crusaders and they all deserve credit. Wing Will Jordan deserve plaudits for his try-scoring feats. However, the key instigators of the win were All Blacks Ryan Crotty and Richie Mo’unga. Our award goes to Mo’unga, who once again made a big statement about being the starting All Black flyhalf.
For the Crusaders:
Tries: Reece 2, Jordan 2, Taufua
Cons: Mo’unga 3, Cameron
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Lealiifano, Kuridrani
Cons: Lealiifano 2
Yellow cards: Owen Franks (Crusaders, 27 – foul play, dangerous tackle/shoulder charge); Toni Pulu (Brumbies, 55 – foul play, dangerous tackle/head-high), Sam Carter (Brumbies, 66 – foul play, dangerous/high tackle)
SUPER RUGBY RECAP: Crusaders v Brumbies
Did you miss any of the action? Recap all the drama here!
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Jahrome Brown, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)