In the pivotal moment of the Blues and Crusaders clash at Eden Park, hooker Codie Taylor has been put in the spotlight for unsportsmanlike antics following Richie Mo’unga’s match-sealing try.

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In a wild period of play Blues hooker Kurt Eklund’s day swung rapidly, going from good to bad after scoring a critical try for the Blues to edge his side closer at 29-20 with fifteen minutes to go.

Directly from the kickoff, the Crusaders were penalised for tackling a man in the air, however a dangerous cleanout by Eklund on Sevu Reece reversed the penalty and gave the visitors the chance to kick to the corner.

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Eklund’s pile-driving cleanout could have had serious implications for Reece, who narrowly avoided catastrophe by being dumped on his neck. The infringement riled up the Crusaders, most particularly Codie Taylor who raced in to share words with his Blues’ opposite.

That wouldn’t be the end of Eklund’s horror three minutes, as the Crusaders begun a maul from the five metre line and set up a switch play back down the blind side where the Blues’ hooker was defending.

Sensing a mismatch, Mo’unga skipped around the outstretched effort of Eklund to glide over and restore the Crusaders lead again before silencing the crowd with a ‘shush’ gesture aimed at the attendees behind the goal line stand.

Instead of celebrating with his teammates, Codie Taylor made a beeline to Eklund lying on the turf to serve up some trash talk to the fallen Blues hooker who had missed the one-on-one tackle.

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The much anticipated fixture was bound to have some spice, after last year’s return match at Eden Park was cancelled after a thrilling first encounter in Christchurch which required a second half fight back to prevent the Blues from taking a historic away win.

Crusaders win Sevu Reece also got in on the fun with an imitation of Blues centre Rieko Ioane, using his celebration pose after scoring the last try of the game that put the icing on the cake for the win.

 

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In the post-match press conference, Richie Mo’unga spoke of how much the win meant to him and shared that this was the one he desperately wanted to win.

“To be honest, I’m very pleased and very proud. Obviously this is the one that everyone has wanted, this is one everyone has been waiting for,” he said.

“I gotta be honest, this is the one I really wanted to play in and win.”

Mo’unga said that this fixture came with a lot of noise, but for the Crusaders it was about sticking to doing what they do.

“When you are playing the Blues, there is a lot of hype, social media and whatnot.

“For us, it’s about staying true to what the Crusaders values are, and work ethic and working hard, being really humble and just being the best you can be for your team.”

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