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Crusaders player ratings vs Reds | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
(Photo by SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images)

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For the opening match of the Super Rugby quarter-finals, the Crusaders welcomed the Reds to Orangetheory Stadium.

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For the second time in as many weeks, the Reds were forced to back up and play the Crusaders in New Zealand, and the Crusaders took note of how the Reds played. 

The Reds got the match’s first points through the boot of Lawson Creighton, but the Crusaders hit back quickly through a try to Will Jordan. The Reds kept in touch, though, with Petaia and Vunvivalu combining for the Reds opening try. 

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However, the Crusaders’ scrum dominance continued to put pressure on the Reds, who found themselves losing the ball on their own feeds, and the hosts took full advantage, banking the points to lead at halftime. 

It were the Reds who scored in the first after halftime from a brilliantly worked move off the lineout to put Filipo Daugunu in for a score.

That was as good as it got for the Queenslanders, as the Crusaders suffocated the Reds in defence and piled on the points in the last 20 minutes to run away with the game 37-15. 

Here’s how the Crusaders rated:

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1. George Bower – 6.5

Playing in his 50th match, he was physical all game. Was dominant at scrum time, pushing through his opposite number to win penalties against the feed. Had a few problems handling the ball.

2. Codie Taylor – 6

Back in action for the quarter-finals. Struggled at lineout time, conceding two throws to the Reds, one of which resulted in a try to Suliasi Vunivalu. Was held up over the line in the 28th minute. Was able to break the line on a number of occasions. 

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3. Oli Jager – 6.5

Battled hard all night. Won a cheeky turnover when the Reds were on the attack. Combined well with his front row to constantly push over the Reds scrum. In particular, a big effort from him in the 30th minute allowed the Crusaders to extend their lead.

4. Scott Barrett – 6.5

Led the team out as skipper and put in a valiant performance, with seven tackles and a turnover. Forced a charge-down to pile on the pressure on Tate McDermott off a box kick. Shifted to the side of the scrum as cover for the injured Ethan Blackadder. Neck rolled Ryan Smith at a ruck late in the game. 

5. Sam Whitelock – 7 

The veteran All Black was reliable as ever. Went about his business doing the nitty gritty stuff that has won him plaudits throughout his career. Won a lineout against the throw to finish off the game.

6. Pablo Matera – 6

He was lucky to even be on the park after his dump tackle on Jordan Petaia last week. Was a handful in close quarters and was able to offload to his backs out wide. The Argentine flanker was combative in defence and in the ruck. 

7. Ethan Blackadder – 6.5

Put the team on his back with line-bending runs, carrying three times for 20 metres. Won a turnover from Harry Wilson when he charge into contact. Suffered a painful shoulder injury that ended his night early. 

8. Cullen Grace – 7.5

Made some hard carries into contact, making 14 runs for 40 metres. Was hit heavily carrying back off a 22-metre dropout. Got involved in defence work, making 11 tackles. 

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9. Bryn Hall – 6.5 

Was able to recycle the ball at pace and put his forwards into gaps off the ruck. Put the ball on a string to deliver the ball into the bread basket for Will Jordan’s opening try. 

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7 

Returning from a lay-off last week, he set the tempo early with fast distribution to his outside backs and controlled the game with precision kicking. Showed quick thinking to tap-and-go in the 55th minute, and finished off the play by stepping through the Reds defence to score. 

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 6

Well-contained by Vunivalu on the left wing for most of the first half, but broke open the game in the 64th to reel off big metres and set up a Sevu Reece try. Ended up running for 114 metres.

12. David Havili – 6.5 

Broke the line and delivered a spectacular offload to Reece in his first touch. 

13. Jack Goodhue – 5.5

Returning to starting line-up, linked well with outside backs to expose the Reds out wide. Carried four times for 37 metres. 

14. Sevu Reece – 6

He was heavily involved around the fringes early in the game. Ran with purpose and was courageous in the air. Stepped through the Reds covering defence to score in the 65th minute. 

15. Will Jordan – 7

Was excellent at the back, picking his moments to break the line, reeling off 84 metres. Found his way to the line early to provide the opening try for the Crusaders.

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Reserves:

16. Brodie McAlister – 5.5

Came on and made positive contributions. Won a turnover penalty in the 68th minute.

17. Tamaiti Williams  – 6

Was a late call up for the match. Scored in the 74th minute to put the game beyond doubt. 

18. Fletcher Newell – 5.5 

On in the 53rd minute. Caused a huge pushover in the scrum to set up the try to Mo’unga. Conversely, gave away a scrum penalty. 

19. Zach Gallagher – N/A 

Come on into the second row to replace the injured Blackadder. 

20. Tom Christie – 6

Into the fray in the 76th minute and was industrious across the park. 

21. Mitch Drummond – N/A 

Came on to close out the game. 

22. Braydon Ennor – N/A

Replaced Goodhue when the game was decided. Was given limited opportunities but made some good breaks late in the game. 

23. George Bridge – N/A

Didn’t get the ball in hand. Was denied a try due to a Crusaders knock on. 

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