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Crusaders captain Christie urges side to 'get up to the level of Sevu Reece'

By Ben Smith
Sevu Reece of the Crusaders reacts after losing the round nine Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and Crusaders at HBF Park on April 20, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Janelle St Pierre/Getty Images)

Crusaders captain Tom Christie has urged his side to ‘get up the level of Sevu Reece’ in order to make a playoff push after going down 37-15 to the Western Force in Perth.

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The Force beat the Crusaders for the first time in over a decade with a comprehensive showing, going into the sheds up 16-5 at halftime despite an early Crusaders try to Levi Aumua.

Despite two tries to Sevu Reece and George Bell, the boot of Wallaby Ben Donaldson kept pushing the lead ahead before a final Force flurry in the last quarter took the game away. The home side put together three tries from the rolling maul that stunned the Crusaders’ pack.

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Captain Christie put the loss down to “too many errors” but said he holds strong belief in the squad to be able to turn the problem areas around.

“That one hurts,” Christie put it bluntly to Stan Sport.

“To answer your question, we made a lot of errors. As we know any errors let any team into a game.

“The solution is we work on those areas, we know we can attack, we know we’ve got game breakers, and we know we can string enough phases together to score amazing tries.

“We need to work on making that happen more often and at the other end, not let them in as easily.”

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The loss put the Crusaders in 12th place at the bottom of the ladder, putting them at risk of picking up the wooden spoon.

On making finals from here, Christie conceded no other team has pulled it off before, but he didn’t want the team to concern themselves on where they sit on the table.

“To be honest, I’m not interested in the ladder, if we start winning games then we will put ourselves in a position,” Christie said.

“Yes, it is unique, yes, no team has probably done it from here but I’ve still got full faith, full trust in out team that when we get it right, we are a dangerous team.

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“I said it a couple of weeks ago, we’ve got to get it right more often and we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

The one shining light for the Crusaders continues to be Sevu Reece who was once again a game breaker.

He provided the offload for Levi Aumua’s try and showed his power and balance to score with a one-on-one match up on the right edge in the second half.

Player Line Breaks

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Sevu Reece
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Kurtley Beale
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Bayley Kuenzle
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The Crusaders captain called Reece “the best player in the country” who the team needs to follow.

“Sevu is a wonderful asset to have on this team. He’s a great man, he’s a great friend, and we value him highly as an individual.

“His rugby talent, he’s the best in the country, there’s no other way to put it. Potentially the best in this competition, he shows that week in week out.

“The rest of us need to get up to his level.”

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D
Diarmid 9 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

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