Crusaders untroubled to beat Blues
Saturday, May 25, 2019 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
By the end of the night there was only one tackle between them with the Crusaders making 85 tackles. The breakdowns were also even but the Crusaders won 12 penalties to eight and that represented the difference between the sides.
A mistake by Blues first five-eighths Harry Plummer provided the Crusaders their first chance. His attempted box kick went directly into touch. From the lineout, Mo'unga lobbed a kick in behind the Blues backs and Crotty raced through to claim the ball and feed halfback Bryn Hall inside him giving him a free run in for the opening try in the 19th minute.
The kicking game continued into the second half, the Crusaders having more success with the length they could achieve while the Blues were continually on the defensive.
Typical of their success was a long kick made downfield by halfback Jonathan Ruru. Crusaders fullback David Havili put it high and the ball was regained quickly on halfway by wing George Bridge and Hall was able to lob another kick ahead.
The Blues got closer when Plummer landed a 57th minute penalty goal but almost immediately the three points were returned when Mo'unga landed his third penalty goal.
Chances for the Blues were few and far between and typical of their night was a lineout heading into the final quarter where they had one of their best positions in the game only to lose the ball in the post-lineout set-up.
Soon after a promising blindside move saw wing Rieko Ioane create room on the outside but the pass to Nanai was just behind him and lost forward.
But in the 70th minute, they did better from a second lineout penalty and while it took some crucial tidying up by prop Alex Hodgman to set up a maul which allowed quick clearance with fast hands from TJ Faiane and Nanai giving Ioane the space on the left to score.
At a time when discipline was vital, Hodgman infringed with a lineout push and Mo'unga did the rest to land the goal and deny the Blues a bonus point.
Scorers: Crusaders 19 (Bryn Hall tries; Richie Mo'unga con, 4 pen) Blues 11 (Rieko Ioane tries; Harry Plummer 2 pen). HT: 13-3
FT | @crusadersrugby take a close win over the @BluesRugbyTeam in Christchurch.#CRUvBLU pic.twitter.com/WxhMDLO2VI— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 25, 2019
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