Round 8 of Super Rugby Aotearoa has delivered an absolute gem of a match seeing the Crusaders defeated 26-25 by the Chiefs, who only a month ago were described as a ‘train wreck’.
Scott Robertson had made a number of changes for this match, yet the Crusaders were still armed with plenty of All Black experience, but it wasn’t enough for a resurrected Chiefs who seized the lead late in the match and were desperate enough to preserve it.
This is how the Crusaders rated:
1. George Bower – 7/10
Relished his opportunity to start and whilst he didn’t offer much in the way of attack his set piece was solid but his defensive work was his major contribution today making 17 tackles, missing 0.
2. Brodie McAlister – 7
It’s a hard task stepping in for one of the world’s premier hookers but McAlister made a real fist of it. His lineout was solid, as was his defence and he didn’t let his side down out there tonight.
3. Michael Alaalatoa – 6
Was solid but was found out I defence, in particlaur a shocking miss when exposed in the outer channels that heaped pressure on hi side. The Leinster bound prop has had better performances.
4. Mitchell Dunshea – 7
Really impressed with his engine and his hunger for work. He was a handful at times for the Chiefs and looked to impose himself on his opponents. Was the Crusaders go-to in the lineout and he delivered.
5. Quinten Strange – 6
A fair effort by the young lock who was arguably undeservedly penalised for changing lines giving away a penalty when the Chiefs were on the attack. He appeared to not quite settle into the match, and I think he could do better look to find the match instead of waiting for it to come to him.
6. Scott Barrett (C) – 7
Big effort by the skipper, he was a workhorse in defence and some of his shots didn’t miss. Again, there were some basic errors at the lineout which is of concern as that is now two weeks in a row. A definite work on for him but all-in-all a fair ole crack.
7. Tom Sanders – 6.5
‘The Colonel’ has some real impact on this match and at a time was a real handful for the Chiefs bringing his physicality. He snatched a couple of turnovers however despite exhausting himself in defence dropped off a few too many which at this level isn’t good enough.
8. Ethan Blackadder – 7
He made a fist of it and as always brought a relentless work rate but he appears to play his best rugby in the 6 jersey.
The Chiefs sent Hamilton and surrounding cow country into a frenzy by pipping the Crusaders 26-25, showing belief and skill to underline they are contenders for this competition. Here's how they rated. #CHIvCRU #SuperRugbyAotearoa https://t.co/EC4kPq15F1
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 17, 2021
9. Mitchell Drummond – 6
Solid without being spectacular. The Crusaders did play with some rhythm and the match appeared to flow well under Drummond’s stewardship but he wasn’t as a greater attacking threat himself as he could have been.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 6.5
Not his best day out probably because he was forced to do so much clean up work as others around him were not accurate in their roles.
11. George Bridge – 6
Didn’t get much opportunity out there tonight, but he could have gone looking for it. Consistent when he was involved.
12. David Havili (VC) – 7.5
Impressive. Appears to have found a real home at 12 and was a rock in defence tonight but couldn’t quite impose himself in the attacking space.
13. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 6.5
Dangerous in attack but still having some defensive issues that may preclude him from play 13 in the future.
14. Sevu Reece – 6
Similar to George Bridge he was missing a bit tonight. Usually, he is eager to come looking for work but didn’t really feature in a match where the Crusaders could have done with some ‘Sevu Magic’.
15. Will Jordan – 7.5
Was dangerous tonight just about every time he touched the ball, except the knock on from attempting to take a high ball.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 17, 2021
16. Codie Taylor – 7
Came on lifted the tmpo and scored a ‘Garden Variety’ Codie Taylor try off the back of a lineout maul as we have come to expect.
17. Isieli Tu’ungafasi – N/A
On in the 70th didn’t see enough.
18. Oliver Jager – 6.5
Had a crack and was physical around the breakdown. Would be surprised to see him starting next match.
19. Luke Romano- 7
The ‘Old Bull’ – came to play and he impressed in the tight through the direct channel.
20. Sione Havili Talitui – 5
Didn’t really have a great impact on the match at a time his side required it. Seems to play better when he starts.
21. Bryn Hall – 6
Safe without being spectacular.
22. Dallas McLeod – 6.5
Showed some his potential tonight running out of a tight situation. Should have started at 13.
23. Manasa Mataele – 5
He was out there but failed to make any great impact for his side.
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