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Crusaders player ratings vs Western Force | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

By Alex McLeod

Trending on RugbyPass

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The Crusaders may have picked up a 29-21 win over the Western Force in Christchurch on Friday, but their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final hopes took a big blow as they failed to secure a bonus-point in the dying stages of the match.

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Starved of the ball throughout much of the second half, the Crusaders still managed to run in five tries, although there was a sense of wastefulness as they were disallowed a few tries and missed some kicks at goal to leave the scoreline tighter than it should have been.

With that in mind, here’s how the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions rated:

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1. Tamaiti Williams – 7

Massive behemoth of a young man. Used his huge frame well at scrum time and then for what would have been a try right on the stroke of half-time had it not been for Tomas Cubelli’s terrific defensive work. Standing at 1.93m and 140kg at the age of just 21, this guy has a big future ahead of him. Off in the 62nd minute.

2. Codie Taylor – 6

Quiet for the most part in the first half. Didn’t get up to a whole lot in second half either, although he did register 12 tackles without missing one. Off in the 59th minute.

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3. Michael Alaalatoa – 5

Pinged once at scrum in the first half for dropping a knee. Wasn’t the only time he was outmuscled up front. Off in the 66th minute.

4. Scott Barrett – 6

Unrelenting aggression throughout. Lots of physicality, but not a huge amount to write home about.

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5. Mitchell Dunshea – 6

Paired up with Barrett nicely throughout, but was guilty of a few mishaps such as an obstruction and a missed tackle that helped enable the Force to get on the front foot on attack towards the end of the half. Was otherwise defensively sound. Off in the 65th minute.

6. Whetukamokamo Douglas – 7

Good turnover to help set-up Mataele’s try. Followed that up with a try of his own as he showed great strength to peel off of a maul and drive over from five metres out. Contributed hugely around the park and was the focal point of his side’s lineout.

7. Sione Havili Talitui – 6.5

Great work rate on attack, which he was rewarded for right on half-time as he crashed over for a hard-earned try. Caught lagging defensively in the lead-up to Ollie Callan’s try. Nevertheless, he will give Tom Christie a good run for his money in the starting lineup next season.

8. Cullen Grace – 6.5

Continued his resurgent form after a slot start to the year. Not at his emphatic best, but still showed plenty of vigour with ball in hand. Off at half-time.

9. Bryn Hall – 6.5

Cost Mataele his second try with an unlucky knock on at the base of a ruck. Bossed his forwards around astutely. Superb flat ball to find Jordan for his second try. Decent without setting the world alight. Off in the 52nd minute.

10. Fergus Burke – 6

Obviously not in the same class as Richie Mo’unga, but looked composed in his first start for the Crusaders. Perhaps a full season of provincial footy as a starter will do his develop wonders as he looks ahead to next season. Off in the 77th minute.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 6

Ran a nice line and showed a deft touch to put Will Jordan away for his first half try. Made a couple of bruising ball carries, but was otherwise kept quiet for much of the contest.

12. David Havili – 7

Showed good intent to step up as first receiver to take the pressure off of Burke. Stupendous cut out ball to put Mataele in the corner for his second try but was unfortunate to have it ruled out because of Bryn Hall’s knock on. Immense work to hold up Kyle Godwin over the tryline to deny the Force their third try, but followed that up with a speculative pass to Mataele shortly afterwards. A mixed bag, but did what he could in this disjointed lineup.

13. Braydon Ennor – 6

Great decision-making to stab a grubber while under defensive pressure to assist Mataele’s try. Defensively solid but nothing outrageously spectacular.

14. Manasa Mataele – 6

Showed good composure to keep the ball under control and score from Ennor’s grubber kick. Looked dangerous when given an chance, aside from his last two touches where he spilt the ball cold before being subbed in the 59th minute.

15. Will Jordan – 6.5

Stood up badly by Toni Pulu en route to the Force’s opening try. Redeemed himself by finishing off a well-worked try from a set play about 20 minutes later. Near costly decision to let the high ball bounce in the early stages of the second half as the Force went on to score. Bounced back again to run a wonderful line off Hall’s pass to score his second try seven minutes later. Looked to have struck a matter of minutes later as he and Douglas capitalised on Domingo Miotti’s spillage, but it was ruled out thanks to a foot in touch by Jordan Olowofela. Like Havili, a mixed bag overall, but plenty of positives to take out of it.

Reserves:

16. Nathan Vella – 6

On in the 59th minute. Made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown a few times.

17. Isileli Tu’ungafasi – 6

On in the 62nd minute. A tough act to follow after Williams’ showing.

18. Fletcher Newell – 6.5

On in the 66th minute. Won his side a super important turnover as the Force built sustained pressure deep inside enemy territory.

19. Luke Romano – 6

On in the 65th minute. Added some impetus when called upon.

20. Tom Sanders – 6

On at half-time. Brought plenty of physicality on either side of the ball in a welcome return from injury. Could challenge for a starting spot next week.

21. Mitchell Drummond – 7

On in the 52nd minute. Sensational hustle on defence off the back of a scrum to earn his side a penalty. Secured his side with a vital turnover inside his own 22 in the 69th minute. Deserves to start again next week.

22. Dallas McLeod – N/A

On in the 77th minute.

23. Josh McKay – 6

On in the 59th minute. First action was a wayward bomb kick which piled pressure on his own side. Involved heavily on attack the few times that the Crusaders found themselves in that position after he came on.

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Crusaders player ratings vs Western Force | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

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