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Crusaders player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Pacific

By Nick Turnbull
Sevu Reece. (Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

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In what can only be described as an epic match, the Blues have defeated the Crusaders 27-23 at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

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The match was billed as a blockbuster and the first half didn’t disappoint. Like champion heavyweights each side felt each other out with the ‘jab’ game but then landed some significant blows once opportunities were identified. Despite some lineout issues, the Blues upped the tempo and went into the sheds up 17-7 half time.

The second half delivered everything. Cards, grit, more cards, skill, physicality and fearless rugby from whistle-to-whistle and it was the Blues who managed to hang on to seal the win from the late charging Crusaders.

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Why rolling maul tries aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be.
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Why rolling maul tries aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be.

A privilege to watch, this one. This is how the Crusaders rated:

1. Joe Moody – 6.5/10
Nullified the Blues set-piece early and contributed with several determined carries and cleans when his side were on the attack. Yet uncharacteristically, he had a few defensive lapses. Left the field in the 35th minute with a leg injury – a shame, as he was building.

2. Codie Taylor – 8
Was a real leader for his side, particularly around the collision. He really grew into his game in the second half and was simply immense on the left flank causing the Blues any number of issues.

3. Oli Jager – 5.5
A defensive misread that lead to a Blues try coupled with a clean dropped ball that relieved pressure off the Blues was evidence of not a great first half for the Irishman. He held up his end of the bargain in the scrum but didn’t nail the detail in other aspects of the game.

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4. Scott Barrett – 6
Was having a very strong game on both sides of the ball, yet a red card for a high shot on Alex Hodgman saw his side down to 13 men at one stage. Sadly, ill-discipline isn’t a one off for him as he has been red carded for the All Blacks for similar behaviour. Needs to get on top of these as it is simply too costly.

5. Zach Gallagher – 7
The Crusaders have developed another quality lock forward in this young man. He wasn’t perfect, but he never stopped. Chased everything, tackled everything and left everything out on the park. Tremendous mindset.

6. Ethan Blackadder – 7
Tireless performance and really stepped up when his side were on the ropes during the middle third of the match.

 

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7. Tom Christie – 7.5
The Minister for Defence, was relentless around the ball. Whilst he didn’t always execute as efficiently as he has previously, he got himself into the right zones to affect the match. Does this man ever stop? Can this man ever stop?

8. Cullen Grace – 7.5
Really stepped up tonight in the physicality department. There may be some NRL clubs looking at him as he ran with some serious grit and directness time and time again.

9. Bryn Hall – 6
I thought neither of the Crusaders 9s played particularly well tonight. His midfield box kick that went pretty much nowhere was park rugby. Has better stuff in him.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7.5
Played the basics with panache. His 50/22 when his side were on the ropes was special. Despite missing a very kickable shot at the posts he really was exceptional in most aspects of game tonight. Kept his side in it but perhaps cost his side a try when he hung onto it close to the line.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 5.5
Never really found his way into the match.

12. David Havili – 6
A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance by him. His pass to hit Will Jordan drifting off a narrow Blues defence was centre meter perfect. His kicking game was a bit hit and miss, this coupled with his yellow card were the negative side to his performance.

13. Braydon Ennor – 6
Made some mistimed runs coupled with some strong carries. He certainly looked for some work and did cause the Blues some issues. A fair effort.

14. Sevu Reece – 8
He was a handful for the Blues tonight, crossing the paint twice. Showed some exceptional handling skills at times and looked for work when work needed to be done. Strong game.

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15. Will Jordan – 7.5
Threatening as ever. Deserved his try and found space through the middle consistently. If anything, he could have supported the play better but all things considered he was on tonight.

Replacements:

16. Ricky Jackson – N/A

17. George Bower – 6
On in the 35th and experienced some issues at the set piece. Didn’t really nail the detail up until about the 67th minute when he buzzed Mark Telea’s tower with a great hit. Snapped him into the game and finished well.

18. Fletcher Newell – 6
He brought plenty when he came on. Nothing special, just did his job.

19. Dominic Gardiner – 6
Looked to play on the wide edges and failed to execute an offload down the left side. When charging down the right side in the 78th minute it would have been good to see him to run the outside-in angle to give himself a greater chance of keeping the play alive.

20. Pablo Matera – 6
Steadied the ship with his experience and contributed well in tight.

21. Mitch Drummond – 5.5
A few too many looped passes, coupled with short passes hindered his side. He worked hard to get to the breakdown but like some of his mates, didn’t nail the detail at some crucial times.

22. Fergus Burke – N/A

23. George Bridge – 7
Added some real impact to the match. Just looked to take the Blues on at every opportunity and caused them some real issues. Probably played himself into the starting line-up.

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