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Crusaders player ratings vs Hurricanes | Super Rugby Pacific

By Nick Turnbull
Will Jordan. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Photosport)

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The Crusaders commenced their Super Rugby Pacific tournament with a 42–32 victory over the Hurricanes at a crowdless Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.

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Neither side played with the home town advantage yet it was the 2021 Super Rugby champions striking early through two impressive tries to the talented locomotive Leicester Fainga’anuku. However, they were lucky to go into the sheds 15-13 up as the men from the capital dominated the back end of the first half.

The second half was a similar affair with the Crusaders taking their opportunities early and appeared to have done enough to seal the result with Fainga’anuku again scoring but the Hurricanes came to play for the full 80 and toiled away for to take the eventual 10-point loss.

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This is how the Crusaders rated:

1. Joe Moody – 7.5/10
A superb defensive effort coupled with a professional output at the set-piece. Showing no signs of his form of seasons past abating.

2. Brodie McAlister – 8
Played with a blend of what we have come to expect from a modern-day hooker, yet still managed to stir up memories of an old-fashioned South Island tight forward at the same time. Impressive work rate on both sides of the ball – exhaustive performance.

3. Oli Jager – 6.5
Impressed with his ball-handling skills and work as a distributor from the pod to the pocket. Was guilty of a couple of infringements that put pressure back onto his teammates.

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4. Scott Barrett – 7
A solid Scott Barrett performance. If there is any issue, it is more with the captaincy in the first half as at one stage his side were leading the penalty count 6-1. His side were good, but the Hurricanes were also unlucky. Discipline must improve.

5. Samuel Whitelock – 7
Got cooked at the first lineout which was unexpected. Worked his way back into the game quickly and contributed in the usual Sam Whitelock way.

6. Pablo Matera – 7
A very respectable start to his Crusaders career. Work hard on the right edge for much of the match and was staunch in defence. Needed to be more involved on attack, as we’ve become so accustomed to seeing for Los Pumas.

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7. Tom Christie – 8.5
An absolute workhorse, clocking up 25 tackles. Managed to slow down much of the Hurricanes ball but what really impressed was his defence and ability to get back up and push the second effort throughout.

8. Cullen Grace – 7
Does so much unheralded work off the ball. Almost plays like a grafting extra lock when required but then balances that with his running and catch pass game. Solid start.

9. Bryn Hall – 7.5
How about that pass to Braydon Ennor of the scrum to set up Leicester Fainga’anuku second try down the left flank? Overall managed the game well and didn’t overplay his hand.

10. Fergus Burke – 6
Much to like but much to work on. The good was the gaps he identified and exploited, the bad was his imitation of but a small speed hump in defence. He just put a big target on his back and will need to improve his front-on D rapidly.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 9
An absolute statement game from him. The three tries will be talked about, and rightly so, but he was immense at the try line defence as well. Not a lot to dislike about this performance.

12. David Havili – 6.5
Appeared to get a knock and didn’t really settle into the game. Still showed signs of his quality but appeared hampered by the hit. Better rugby to come.

13. Braydon Ennor – 7.5
A very solid performance on both sides of the ball. Exhausted himself in defence, making 17 tackles, but also managed to pop up at times, picking and driving from the base that caught the Hurricanes out. Intelligent player.

14. George Bridge – 7
Played with limited quality possession and had to operate coming off the back foot and or in limited space. But these efforts frustrated the opposition. Job done.

15. Will Jordan – 7
Probably outplayed Jordie Barrett in the battle of the 15s – but only just. Exciting and dangerous as ever in attack, but a little absent on defence.

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Reserves:

16. Shilo Klein – 6
A memorable debut, scoring a try near the final whistle.

17. George Bower – 7.5
Came on for the ‘George Bower Happy Hour’ and appeared to thoroughly enjoy his work tonight. Bulldozing in the scrum, running the wider channels and didn’t miss a beat in defence.

18. Tamaiti Williams – 6.5
Big unit who can move. Imagine the grocery bill! He copped a knock and toiled on. We’ll be seeing plenty more from him in the future.

19. Quinten Strange – 6.5
A fair impact with a few wobbles around the lineout, but balanced out with some quality set piece work as well. Building nicely.

20. Mitch Dunshea – 6
Didn’t see much but looked to up the tempo when he came and on looked for work. What more can you expect from a bench forward?

21. Mitch Drummond – 7
Nabbed a sneaky strip when the Hurricanes were on the attack. A fair show from him.

22. Simon Hickey – 6
Another Crusaders debut and looks like he will be a handy recruit for them. A steady set of eyes to rely upon.

23. Sevu Reece – 7
Worked hard off the ball and was solid under the high ball. As with George Bridge, it would have been good to see him in some more space. A solid start.

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