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Crusaders player ratings against Reds | Super Rugby Trans Tasman

By Mike Rehu
(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

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The Crusaders played at test match intensity to flog the Queensland Reds 63-28 in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and make it a desolate 0 from ten for the hapless Australian teams in the first two rounds of the competition.


In the battle of the champions, there was only one team in it. The star of the show, not for the first time this season was Richie Mo’unga; 29 points and an absolute wizard.

Here’re the Crusaders ratings.

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1. George Bower – 7

Solid at scrum time against Tupou. Nothing flashy (which is fine for a prop) but tackled his heart out with a team-topping 9 tackles. Off at 65.

2. Codie Taylor – 6.5

Didn’t look at his best and off at halftime. Back at 70 though with a cameo try.


3. Oliver Jager – 7

Looks like a bit of an imposter as a slimline tighthead but brutishly strong and great technique. Looked good when he handled at first receiver and pounding defence. Lost the scrum hit and penalised before the McDermott try. Off at 50.

4. Mitchell Dunshea – 6.5

I mentioned it last week, the Crusaders are lucky to have this man in their squad, what a talent! Whether it’s prowling down the flanks, gobbling up kickoffs or scrapping it out in the collision zone, he’s an asset. Off at 50.


5. Sam Whitelock – 7.5

I always marvel how often he can just stand at a breakdown with bodies flying around him and he able to stay on his feet and is just focused on that ball. You can’t discount how important his physical presence in contact is to the Crusaders.

6. Whetukamokamo Douglas – 7

Formed a dynamic trio with Blackadder and Grace. Lifted a notch when he moved back to 8 late in the game.

7. Ethan Blackadder – 8.5

Changed up his normal grinding style to open side this week. Lovely linking play to set up the Reece try and seemed to pop up everywhere to link, push forward and led his team in metres. Textbook turnover in the 38th minute and a mammoth hit on Campbell.

8. Cullen Grace – 8

Has really turned his year around form-wise. Looked velocious running for his try but also put his hand up for the tough carries, more often than not getting across the advantage line. He was the top line out target for his team and could be timing his form well for All Black consideration.

9.Mitchell Drummond – 6.5

No yards, no snipes, just pass it to Richie please. Off at 50.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 9

Did a lot of his best work outside the first receiver position in the first half. It was noted that Mo’unga was stationed at 13 in defence off a Reds scrum inside their 22 at the 5 minute mark. He made the tackle, McReight couldn’t hold a one-off ball from the resulting breakdown and the 10 pounced for the first try. At 11 minutes he immaculately set up Reece for another and then again picked up a loose ball wide out and scampered in for his second. At 55 minutes he spotted a gap and glided between Wilson and O’Connor for his hat trick. Ended up with 29 points and enhanced his world-class reputation.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 7

The left wing was the top metre eater in the champion’s backline. He exploded off an attacking line out in the 3rd minute, had some good space to run thanks to Ennor in the first quarter. Came alive again at 50 minutes with a brilliant take from a kick that led to Mo’unga’s 3rd try and came close in the corner moments later. Off at 70.

12. David Havili – 7

Another canny play on defence from the 12, timed the run well to start the attack that Grace scored from. Ignored his outside at 21 minutes on attack that botched a try but great cross kick for Reece’s second try. Every week seems to be more comfortable at the bruising 12 position.

13. Braydon Ennor – 7

Took it up a notch from last week. Really loved the sweet centre play at 21 minutes where he sucked in three defenders and sent Fainga’anuku away. Some decent left foot kicking and big defence too. Good turnover at 66 and mashed Paisami at 72 to make the highlight reel.

14. Sevu Reece – 7.5

Scored his first by maintaining the standard wing’s line and waited for Mo’unga to link. Loved his man-handling of Paenga-Amosa at the ruck but was penalised. Incredible collection of touch finder at 42 minutes to deny the Reds an attack that led to his second try.

15. Will Jordan – 5.5

Not his best night in the Crusaders jersey. Got creamed by Salakaia-Loto and was a little quiet as the Reds chose not to kick to him. Bought a big dummy from Harry Wilson on his way to the line, got a big hospital pass that he coughed up that led to Vunivalu’s touchdown and then botched a catch with a try forming at 71 minutes. A flourish with a scintillating skip pass for Taylor’s try but a finish that summed up his night, yellow carded in the 79th.


16. Brodie McAlister – 6 – On at halftime. Some lively runs and solid in the core roles before exiting with injury around 70.

17. Tamaiti Williams – 7 – On at 65. Showed his power to get the Crusaders over the 50 mark at 69 minutes and managed 8 tackles in 15 minutes. Huge in more ways than one.

18. Michael Alalatoa – 6.5 – On at 50. Got into his work quickly and played well in the loose.

19. Quentin Strange – 6 – On at 50. Some nice touches but doesn’t quite look up to speed yet.

20. – Sione Havili Talitui – 6 – On at 65. Showed his power more than once.

21. Bryn Hall – 6 – On at 50. Kept the linkage going.

22. Dallas McLeod – 6 – On at 59. Had a couple of decent probes and looks very promising.

23. Manasa Mataele – 6 – On at 70. Good assist on Taylor’s try.


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