Super Rugby Aotearoa continues to deliver some of the most enthralling rugby currently being played on the planet.
This afternoon, an epic encounter at Sky Stadium Wellington seeing the visiting Crusaders snatching a 30-27 victory in extra time over the Hurricanes after both sides had exhausted themselves but couldn’t be separated after regulation time.
No doubt Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson will be relieved to see his team back to winning ways after a rare home defeat to the Highlanders in the previous round. Here’s how his players rated in Wellington.
1. Joe Moody – 6.5/10
A bittersweet afternoon for the veteran loose head as he was celebrating his 100th Super Rugby match, however was forced from the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury after just 26 minutes. Appeared to be giving it a fair shake before his untimely departure.
2. Codie Taylor – 8.5
No tries for the All-Black hooker today but his defensive performance was his point-of-difference, imposing a herculean 24 tackles and a turnover for his team. He was relentless in around the ball and ensured that the Hurricanes didn’t dominate the collision when he was around. A ‘True Grit’ performance.
3. Oliver Jager – 6.5
Did his bit and appears to be getting back to some form. Didn’t let his side down in the set piece which was vitally important today as the Hurricanes came to play in that aspect of the game.
4. Scott Barrett – 6
Bit of a ‘Jeckyl & Hyde’ performance by the skipper today. Made some telling tackles when needed, especially in the wider channels but he also had his defensive misreads that compounded pressure onto his side. Further pressure was brought on by a basic lineout error at a crucial time in the match which is unacceptable for a player of his calibre and the responsibility he has.
5. Samuel Whitelock – 7.5
Thought he was pretty special today. Another exhaustive performance around the breakdown and lead by example in that space.
6. Whetukamokamo Douglas – 5.5
Worked hard but doesn’t appear to have the defensive nous in the wider channels where he got caught out a couple of times that proved costly. A better player playing a traditional 8-man role.
7. Sione Havili Talitui – 7.5
Really worked himself hard but considering he was up against an on-fire Ardie Savea he had to. Is playing his own way, and playing well and furthermore isn’t looking to be a ‘stand in’ Tom Christie, but it appears the Crusaders are missing the glue that Tom Christie is on the edges.
8. Cullen Grace – 7.5
Does what he always does and worked hard off the ball but would have really liked to have seen him take on a bit more initiative with ball-in-hand play as today the Crusaders back row were arguably outplayed in that aspect. His crowning moment was his work in the lineout and he really caused the Hurricanes issues there.
9. Bryn Hall – 6
He was a bit clunky today. Passes were a tad off at times coupled with the odd knock on or missed tackle. Has such better rugby in him.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 7
A fair ole game by him with moments of ‘Mo’unga Magic’ but he was squeezed for space and front foot ball consistently today, but too his credit he still managed to give the Hurricanes plenty to think about.
11. George Bridge – 8
Such a typical consistent George Bridge effort. Seldom did he make a mistake and cashed in with two tries. Positionally sound and worked hard off the ball.
12. David Havili – 6
Like Scott Barrett bit of mixed bag today. Had to try tame a ferocious Ngani Laumape which is a daunting task but too his credit he chipped away and contributed to the win today, securing the final 3 points in extra time.
13. Jack Goodhue – 6.5
Off in the 21st with a leg injury sustained in an attempted tackle on opposite Peter Umaga-Jensen who had deceived Goodhue with a sublime inside, out angled run that caused the Crusaders some concern, but not as much as the leg injury sustained. Wasn’t shirking his work before the injury.
14. Sevu Reece – 8
Bagged a try and was a handful for the Hurricanes for most of the afternoon. He knowns when to up urgency and to inject himself into the collision area’s when his side is under pressure there. A quality, mature wingers’ performance today.
15. Will Jordan – 6.5
He worked hard today but if anything over thought it a bit. He wasted a try scoring opportunity by kicking away possession after the Crusaders had launched a counter attack from deep within their 22. With numbers in support, I was just asking ‘Why’? He needed to be smarter with the ball at crucial times, but he wasn’t today. He did run some very good lines at other times but he was the second best 15 on the park today.
16. Brodie McAlister – N/A
17. George Bower – 6.5 – On for Joe Moody earlier than expected and contributed well around the tackle and set piece.
18. Michael Alaalatoa – 6 – On for Ollie Jager and did his bit. Guilty of an infringement when the Crusaders were in the Hurricanes territory but otherwise solid.
19. Mitchell Dunshea – 7 – Enjoyed his input. He really looked to up the tempo and impose himself at a crucial time of the match. He must be itching to get a start and played like so.
20. Tom Sanders – 6 – Good to see ‘The Colonel’ back in action, but appeared to have greasy fingers as he dropped the ball after his first attempt. Looked to get involved a contributed otherwise.
21. Mitchell Drummond – 6.5 – Was a steadier hand than Bryn Hall today and that allowed his side to stay in the hunt and eventually win the match.
22. Dallas McLeod – N/A
23. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 7 – Was a handful as always in attack causing the Hurricanes any number of headaches. Defensively a little hit and miss however.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now