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Crusaders player ratings vs Hurricanes | Super Rugby Pacific

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Both the Crusaders and Hurricanes entered their final match of the regular season with their seeding already secured, but that didn’t stop either side from bringing the heat.

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The Crusaders looked on track to have their usual upper hand over their Wellingtonian rivals, scoring early through strong set-piece play and quick thinking attack.

The momentum of the match hung in the balance early in the second half with the Crusaders holding a 19-8 lead. A yellow card to Codie Taylor set the wheels in motion for the Hurricanes’ comeback and the men in gold produced some resilient phase-play attack before finally breaking the Crusaders’ line.

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The Hurricanes built a lead by executing from within the Crusaders’ 22. A late try to the reigning champs made the score look more favourable but it was all Hurricanes in the second 40. Fulltime score: 27-26.

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Here’s how the Crusaders rated:

1. Tamaiti Williams – 6

Williams’ damaging ball-carrying early put his side in position to score. He looked strong opposite All Black Tyrel Lomax in the scrum. The Crusaders didn’t get Williams involved enough in the match to get the most out of the in-form prop.

2. Codie Taylor – 5.5

Taylor brought some energy to the match and was sure to be the one to square up with Dane Coles when his All Blacks teammate started riffing in his usual charming way. Taylor’s lineout throws were up to his familiar near-flawless standard. Taylor’s yellow card contributed to the shift in momentum that defined the second half.

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3. John Afoa – 4

Afoa looked just a little off the pace when the ball was being thrown about. It was a dynamic game and not so suited to the 39-year-old. Was penalised at scrum time also. Replaced at halftime.

4. Quinten Strange – 5.5

Strange had some nice work in the engine room throughout the game, he was busy around the set piece and hit plenty of rucks. He’ll rue dropping off four tackles in crucial moments.

5. Sam Whitelock – 7

Whitelock led by example again tonight. A tackle around the bootlaces of Kini Naholo stopped a potentially dangerous linebreak. Replaced at halftime

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6. Scott Barrett – 7.5

Barrett’s versatility was on full display again tonight; his defence was excellent, his lineout work was on point, he hit rucks and secured the lineouts. Barrett will be disappointed his side’s discipline slipped in the second half and the Hurricanes were able to find gaps in close which they scored off.

7. Tom Christie – 8.5

Christie was hunting around the ruck from the outset of the match, winning his first attempt at a turnover and then getting penalised for the next. He was in every ruck around the park and made a remarkable 28 tackles with just one miss. Christie continues to prove himself as one of the most stoic and tireless players in the game and sets the tone through his ability to drag players down in a variety of ways.

8. Christian Lio-Willie – 7.5

Lio-Willie’s subtle touches contributed strongly to his side’s early momentum and eventual try. His running game had moments to shine, showing great acceleration into the contact. Defensively he was strong but not as involved as his opposites.

9. Louie Chapman – 7

Chapman kept his composure no matter how ugly the scenes in front of him got and how close the Hurricanes’ forwards came to getting their mitts on him. His ball deliveries were crisp and his few kicks were well executed. Most impressive was how courageous Chapman was on defence, claiming a couple of clean hits on the ribs of yellow jerseys. Overall an impressive debut despite the loss.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7

The kicking game wasn’t pretty in the early stages, both sides missed touch and were off in their execution. Mo’unga’s confidence is a wonderful thing though and he was quick to right his wrongs. There were limited opportunities for Mo’unga to imprint his magic on the match, he made the most of a few minor opportunities but couldn’t spark anything that led to points or significant momentum.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 7.5

Some active work around the breakdown rewarded Fainga’anuku early with the opening try of the game. A few off-ball exchanges with Dane Coles made for some extra entertainment. You hope that if Fainga’anuku is selected for the All Blacks No 11 jersey that he is given the license to roam at the international level as he has in Super Rugby, he’s so dangerous with his work in tight.

12. Jack Goodhue – 7.5

Goodhue’s defensive instincts are still sharp and his execution was up to the task of taking down some dangerous ball runners in both the Hurricanes forward pack and their backline. When the ball was being spread wide Goohue just edged himself out to make it awkward for the Hurricanes but his finest work was disrupting the ball in close.

13. Braydon Ennor – 6

The midfield matchup was an intriguing one this week, Ennor faced off with fellow young gun Billy Proctor. Proctor is widely regarded as a future All Black and may contest Ennor’s spot in the pecking order in the seasons to come. This match may have only furthered Proctor’s case to leapfrog Ennor. While the centre used his pace and defensive instincts to make some positive plays, he was overall out-hustled and out-muscled by his opposite.

14. Dallas McLeod – 6.5

McLeod is simply a strong decision-maker, he isn’t likely to get sucked into the kicking battle when reasonable running metres are on offer and he’s got the running game to put the foot down and take every inch on offer. McLeod’s defensive read saved the Crusaders when Codie Taylor was in the bin and they were outnumbered.

15. Will Jordan – 6

A poor kick in the opening minute killed any early momentum, Jordan was lucky Brett Cameron made a similar mistake shortly after. Jordan found himself as the last line of defence against a rampaging Kini Naholo down the left sideline and put in a solid hit to bring the young power winger down. The match missed the Jordan magic fans have been waiting to see since the All Black returned and he’s still yet to find the form we know he’s capable of.

 

Replacements:

 

16. Brodie McAlister – 5

17. Kershawl Sykes-Martin – 4

18. Reuben O’Neill – 4

19. Zach Gallagher – 5.5

20. Sione Havili Talitui – 6

21. Joel Lamb – 5

22. Fergus Burke – 5

23. Chay Fihaki – 6.5

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