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Crusaders player ratings vs Rebels | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

By Mike Rehu

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The Crusaders were laid down a challenge after the Highlanders’ victory in Canberra, beat the Rebels by 33 points with a bonus point and guarantee your place in next week’s Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final.

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The Aotearoa champions spelt out their intentions by scoring four tries in the first half-hour, things went a little dry after that with some critical errors and as the clock ran down it meant the substitutes had some work to do in the last quarter. Ultimately it was a bridge too far for them to control their own destiny, a 52-26 victory but having to wait for the Blues performance to finally know their season is over.

Here’s how the Crusaders rated:

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1. George Bower – 5.5
Looked pretty anxious after a week off and watching Tamaiti Williams make a statement on the paddock against the Force. At 7 minutes, he bested Eloff for a scrum penalty but from there on it was back and forth penalties in the first half on the tv camera side of the scrum. Joe Powell ran around him for a try in the 35th minute to close it up before halftime. Off at 58 and back shortly after with Williams taking a knock.

2. Brodie McAlister – 6
With Codie Taylor having a break back in Christchurch, McAlister came back from concussion and looked solid at set piece; especially at lineout. A little blemish with dropping a ball cold at 9 minutes. Off at 56.

3. Michael Alalatoa – 6.5
Might be his last game for the Crusaders. Good tackle count with 15 but never gained scrum ascendancy. Off at 56.

4. Scott Barrett – 7
Captain Fantastic set the tone from the first minute with a sturdy charge down that led to a 3 minute attack from the first whistle. Marmalised the upright-running Hosea at 11 minutes, a big bust in the 22nd minute that led to Reece’s try.

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5. Sam Whitelock – 7
A week off last week and the edge was back with a man who sets and demands high standards, right from the first line out he was on point and a real leader in the Crusaders. 16 tackles and the look on his face at the end of the match said it all.

6. Ethan Blackadder – 8
Back fresh from being named ‘Champion Crusader of the Year’ and head knock R&R. Big tackles early, got tickled up by Gordon under the ribs at one stage. A mind-boggling 23 tackles, 45 metres off 9 carries. He’s certainly a guy you’d love on your team.

7. Sione Havili Talitui – 5.5
Openside has been a weakness since Christie was struck down. Havili Talitui is a good player with a high work rate but is not a genuine 7. Off at 56.

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8. Whetukamokamo Douglas – 7
With Cullen Grace out, Douglas got an outing in his preferred number 8 position and performed excitingly. 44 metres off 6 solid carries.

9. Mitchell Drummond – 6
The competition for the starting role in a potential final next week sparked Mitchell Drummond into motion with a busy effort. Off at 56.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7
The Crusaders Player of the Year certainly had his dancing shoes on from the first minute. Aussie teams still aren’t able to stop him from running out the back of a forward pod and he had a field day setting up Jordan in the 4th minute for a try. He was back in action in the 22nd, with a couple of beautiful touches leading up to Reece’s try. 76 metres off seven carries. Blotted his copybook with a punt to the deadball zone at 50 minutes, at 76 minutes he booted away possession after a turnover and then was offside a moment later to give the Rebels the ball back to finish the game.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 7
Deathly quiet in the first 15 minutes but once he moved to the midfield we saw him bust the line and very shortly after popped up on the left fringe to finish the Crusaders’ third try. Certainly inserted himself into attacks from there. In terms of form, he’s usurped Rieko Ioane as a wing/centre option.

12. Dallas McLeod – N/A
Called in an hour or two before kick-off after David Havili cried off, and only lasted a quarter an hour himself before catching Lomani’s hip and being escorted off.

13. Braydon Ennor – 5
An embarrassing moment just before halftime with the line in sight and the ball just popping out of his grasp with no pressure on him. It would have turned 26-12 into 33-12 so it slowed the Crusaders down a little. Redeemed himself slightly with a well-taken line bust and try at the end.

14. Sevu Reece – 7.5
The little man had a field day in the try-scoring stakes with a hat trick of tries at 22, 46 and 58 minutes. There is an element of showmanship with Reece, his 30th minute run into Worth and trying to milk the penalty is not the first time he’s done that and reminds me of a Latin soccer striker.

15. Will Jordan – 7
Cracked a ton of metres easily (192 m) and used his blinding speed and swerve to make Worth look pretty silly in the 5th minute for a touchdown. Went for an intercept in the 26th minute but a knock forward to deny Koroibeite a try saw him yellow-carded. His spilt pass that led to the Lomani try put pressure on his team and then a knock on with a chance to score at 66 showed he’s human, but only just!

Reserves:

16. Nathan Vella – 6
On at 56. Looked up to add some oomph in his team’s climb to the summit

17. Tamaiti Williams – N/A
On at 58. Not for long.

18. Oliver Jager – 6.5
On at 56 and ploughed through at 66 metres for a timely try.

19. Mitchell Dunshea – 6
On at 66, took a crucial line out steal at 72 minutes that led to Ennor try.

20. Tom Sanders – 6
On at 56. Game and physical.

21. Bryn Hall – 6
On at 56. Certainly raised the tempo as the champs chased the game. Poor ending with a yellow though with 2 minutes to go.

22. Fergus Burke – N/A
Didn’t take the field.

23. Manasa Mataele – 6
On at 16, and set up a great try down the left for Fainga’anuku. Looks back in some form.

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Crusaders player ratings vs Rebels | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

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