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SHOCK! Reds edge Crusaders at Christchurch

SATURDAY WRAP: Fraser McReight has led a Queensland Reds charge in Christchurch to snap his side’s 25-year losing streak against the Crusaders in New Zealand.

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The Reds beat the Crusaders 33-28 on Saturday, stoic defence in the final minutes after building a 12-point lead with six minutes to play staving off what looked set to be another gutting near miss.

It was the Reds’ first win in the city since Tim Horan, Ben Tune, Toutai Kefu, Daniel Herbert and Nathan Sharpe wore the jersey in 1999 – and just the Crusaders’ second loss to an Australian side in Christchurch since 2004.

The visitors played brilliant rugby to add to their Highlanders and Chiefs triumphs, Tim Ryan’s double making it five tries in two Super Rugby Pacific starts for the 20-year-old, and unheralded No.10 Lawson Creighton’s kicking game superb.

Back from a two-game suspension, flank McReight showed his class at the breakdown, while backrow partners Liam Wright and Harry Wilson made ground.

Victory made it three wins against New Zealand sides this year for the Reds, their only trans-Tasman losses coming via after-the-siren tries to the Hurricanes and Blues.

The five-tries-to-four win improved them to 5-5 and put them on the doorstep of the top four.

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The Crusaders, who have shown vast improvement since an 0-5 start, dropped to 2-8 and lost captain and All Blacks star Scott Barrett to an apparent back injury after just 14 minutes.

After eight penalties in the first 16 minutes, it was the Reds who opened the scoring through McReight, with fullback Jock Campbell’s clean break setting the platform.

Four early kicks in behind the Crusaders defence amounted to nothing initially, but eventually created the space for Josh Flook to break down the left wing.

Campbell was involved again as winger Ryan finished an 80-metre special.

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Dallas McLeod got the hosts on the board in the 38th minute but the Reds regained control when prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen scored from a line-out turnover to begin the second half.

The Crusaders scored the next two, Quinten Strange’s try to level the scores controversially upheld when replays were unable to say conclusively the ball had been held up.

Harry Wilson then did it himself, charging down an exit kick and regathering to score a try that stunted the comeback.

Ryan earned another when he sped onto Campbell’s chip kick, and when Ryan Smith forced a turnover with a heads-up defensive play soon after the Reds looked home.

But Ryan gave away a lineball offensive penalty with the Reds in prime position and Sevu Reece raced off for his 100th first-class try.

The Crusaders burnt down the left edge again seeking the go-ahead try but were stopped, with the Reds able to withstand one last push to rewrite the record books.

In the other fixture Moana Pasifika couldn’t rise to the occasion in the first-ever Super Rugby game played in Tonga, losing 17-28 to the Highlanders in atrocious weather on Saturday.

Heavy rain and sodden ground conditions dampened the historic match in Nuku’alofa, along with the hard-working visiting side, who scored three tries to two.

All the tries came in the first half as the Highlanders built a 19-17 lead, and the New Zealand side pulled clear after the interval through three penalty goals to flyhalf Cameron Millar.

Conditions at Teufaiva Sport Stadium became increasingly worse, reducing the prospects of a late fightback from Moana, who are based in Auckland and have played most of their home games there for financial reasons since their introduction to Super Rugby in 2022.

Both teams are fighting to reach the quarterfinals with four rounds remaining in the regular season, having entered the game with identical 3-6 win-loss records.

A second straight victory for the Highlanders means they’ll stay just inside the top eight, while Moana will be ninth or worse by the end of the round, depending on other results.

*The Western Force’s disappointing Super Rugby Pacific campaign has hit another low point, thrashed 56-7 by a merciless Chiefs outfit.

It proved easy work for the Chiefs, with the hosts taking the lead inside two minutes and rarely taking their foot off the gas in the nine-tries-to-one beating in Hamilton on Saturday.

Moana Pasifika 17-28 Highlanders

The scorers:

For Moana Pasifika:
Tries: Pole, Havili
Con: Havili
Pen: Havili

For Highlanders:
Tries: Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens 2, Garden-Bachop
Cons: Millar 2
Pens: Millar 3

Teams:

Moana: 15 William Havili, 14 Viliami Fine, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Fine Inisi, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (captain), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Solomone Funaki, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Danny Toala, 23 Neria Fomai

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Jake Te Hiwi, 11 Connor Garden-Bachop, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Billy Harmon (captain), 7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Fabian Holland, 4 Mitch Dunshea, 3 Saula Ma’u, 2 Henry Bell, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Will Tucker, 20 Nikora Broughton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Martín Bogado.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Stu Curran & Jackson Henshaw
TMO: Glenn Newman

Crusaders 28-33 Reds

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: McLeod, Kellow, Strange, Reece
Cons: Halfpenny, Fihaki 2

For Reds:
Tries: McReight, Ryan 2, Toomaga-Allen, Wilson
Cons: Crein 4

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 David Havili, 9 Mitch Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Corey Kellow, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Chay Fihaki

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Tim Ryan,, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Lawson Creighton, 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Peni Ravai.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Connor Vest, 20 John Bryant, 21 Louis Werchon, 22 Harry McLaughlin-Philips, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu

Referees: Jordan Way
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy & Jeremy Markey
TMO: Brett Cronan

Chiefs 56-7 Western Force

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Narawa, Rona 3, McKenzie, Vaa’i, Slater, Thompson, Ioane, Penalty try
Cons: McKenzie 4
Pen: McKenzie

For Western Force:
Try: Penalty try

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Daniel Rona, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Kalyum Bshier (captain), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 George Dyer, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Kauvaka Kalvelata, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Simon Parker, 22 Xavier Roe, 23 Josh Ioane

Western Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Jeremy Williams (captain), 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Josh Bartlett.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Henry Robertson, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O’Donnell

Referees: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Jono Bredin & Fraser Hannon
TMO: Chris Hart

Brumbies 28-20 Fijian Drua

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: Ikitau 2, Alaalatoa, Reimer
Cons: Lolesio 4

For Fiji Drua:
Tries: Nasilasila, Kuruvoli
Cons: Armstrong-Ravula 2
Pens: Armstrong-Ravula 2

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Tamati Tua, 11 Ollie Sapsford, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Harrison Goddard, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Jahrome Brown, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Harry Vella, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Declan Meredith, 23 Hudson Creighton

Fijian Drua: 15 Selestino Ravutaumada, 14 Junior Ratvua, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Michael Naitokani, 11 Taniela Rakuro, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Vilive Miramira, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Haereiti Hetet.
Replacements: 16 Mesu Dolokoto, 17 Livai Natave, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Leone Rotuisolia, 20 Motikiai Murray, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Kemu Valetini, 23 Ilaisa Droasese

Referees: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Kaminsky & George Myers
TMO: James Leckie

Source: AFP & AAP

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