Mo'unga masterclass floors AU champs Reds
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN REPORT: Australia’s Super Rugby flag bearers have been embarrassed by their New Zealand opposites, the Crusaders further exposing the gulf between the nations in a 63-28 thumping of the Queensland Reds.
The flogging completed another perfect round for New Zealand opponents over Australian outfits, the score now reading 10-0 in a deflating fortnight after the highs of the Reds’ dramatic domestic title win over the Brumbies.
*As it happened: Reds v Crusaders
Where the Reds fumbled and were shunted back in tackles, the Crusaders were razor-sharp, clear-minded and possessed a top gear that proved far too much for the Reds.
Form No.10 Richie Mo’unga did as he pleased for the visitors at Suncorp Stadium, scoring three tries to help the Crusaders post their highest total against the Reds and ensure the 2011 Super Rugby final loss to them remains their most recent.
Brad Thorn’s side started promisingly, with Taniela Tupou spilling the ball over the line in the second minute.
But 12 minutes later it was 21-0, David Havili coming from nowhere to intercept and set up Cullen Grace after Mo’unga and Sevu Reece had already crossed.
Mo’unga ran in his second before Tate McDermott scampered over to briefly stop the rot, with Reds backrower Harry Wilson describing their efforts as “embarrassing” to the broadcast as he walked to the sheds.
They looked to steady in the second half but Reece exploited a bizarre rule to steal back possession, jumping from well outside the field of play to mark the ball and land back in-field.
He then ran onto a pin-point Havili cross-field kick, the lead swelling to 49-7 with two more tries before the 60th minute.
Wilson did is best to inspire the Reds, dummying as he raced down the wing to score then two minutes later charging down a kick and flicking a pass over his should for Suliasi Vunivalu to score for the third time in two games.
At 49-21 the Crusaders resumed normal service, although the Reds added another consolation try and Vunivalu twice came close in a confident performance that would give Wallabies coach Dave Rennie something to cheer.
Man of the match: Crusaders players were all in fine form however one man who stood out was flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, who deserves our nod for his lethal runs, his hat trick, his game management and accurate kicking.
Tries: McDermott, Wilson, Vunivalu, Paenga
Cons: O’Connor 4
TRies: Mo’unga 3, Reece 2, Grace, Penalty try, Williams, Taylor
Cons: Mo’unga 8
Yellow card: Harry Hoopert (Reds, 58 – collapsing the maul), Will Jordan (Crusaders, 78 – deliberate foul play)
Queensland Reds:15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O’Connor (co-captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (co-captain), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Isaac Henry, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Oliver Jager, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili Talitui, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Manasa Mataele.
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy & Jordan Way
TMO: Brett Cronan