Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

One playoff dream survives as Crusaders thrash Moana Pasifika

By Ned Lester
Dallas McLeod scores for the Crusaders. Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images

Both the Crusaders and Moana Pasifika entered their round 15 matchup needing a bonus point win to keep their slim hopes of a quarter-final birth alive. This meant one thing; tries.

ADVERTISEMENT

One team achieved that goal, and it was the reigning champions who won the night with a 43-10 margin on a typically chilly Christchurch evening. The Crusaders now need the Fijian Drua and Western Force to lose their respective contests in order to make the playoffs.

The Crusaders came out of the gates hugely energised but even with the dominant carries of Christian Lio-Willie, Moana Pasifika were able to absorb the pressure and win a penalty.

Video Spacer

How would Super Rugby teams fare in the Champions Cup? | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

Video Spacer

How would Super Rugby teams fare in the Champions Cup? | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

The Crusaders suffered an early yellow card when Joe Moody entered a tackle on Lotu Inisi upright and made high contact. Before long lock Antonio Shalfoon was helped from the field with an ankle injury.

The Crusaders gave away a stupid penalty right in front of the posts by hanging on to William Havili’s leg in the ruck, allowing Moana to claim the first points of the game through a penalty – although there appeared to be some confusion over that call given it was tries the team needed.

However, even with that yellow card, the hosts were on the scoreboard shortly after with a strong driving maul try finished by Ethan Blackadder.

With that proven recipe for success, the Crusaders went back to the driving maul four minutes later and were in for their second.

ADVERTISEMENT

Moana had some lineout magic of their own to throw the Crusaders’ way, opting to play it off the back rather than muscle up, with the Inisi brothers connecting to see Fine touch down over the line draped in defenders.

The try scorer’s next impact on the game was an intercept attempt that resulted in a yellow card. Before the winger could even take his seat on the sideline, another Crusaders lineout drive saw Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scoring forward Codie Taylor touch down yet again. Fergus Burke’s third conversion extended the lead to 21-10 as the clock ticked over 30 minutes.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
3
14
Entries
Avg. Points Scored
1.2
8
Entries

35-year-old Ryan Crotty was the next man on the scoresheet as the Crusaders exploited overlaps down the blindside on consecutive phases for the former All Black to dot down in the corner.

The try meant the Crusaders had their bonus point with minutes to spare before halftime. The teams headed into the sheds for oranges with a scoreline of 26-10 favouring the hosts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Related

The second half didn’t start all that well for the reigning champions with the kickoff going out on the full.

However, a steal from Ethan Blackadder sparked a counterattack in Moana’s half and the individual brilliance of Noah Hotham saw the opportunity converted. The halfback put through a chip and chase and leapt for the bounce, winning the aerial contest and falling over the line with the ball.

The Crusaders next found pay through short carries around the ruck, with big efforts from Tamaiti Williams and Cullen Grace helping create another overlap down the blindside which Dallas McLeod emerged as the benefactor of, scoring another try in the corner.

The Crusaders continued to dominate territory through superior discipline and the kicking game of Noah Hotham and Fergus Burke, with the long-range boots of Johnny McNicholl and Chay Fihaki also stepping up with timely interventions.

Territory

15%
30%
28%
27%
Team Logo
Team Logo
55%
Territory
45%

It was a McNicholl kick that set up the Crusaders’ 68th-minute try for Macca Springer, with the short ball landing perfectly in the waiting arms of the winger in full stride, who cantered past the last defender to extend the lead.

With the hosts owning a 33-point advantage in the contest, they were just seven points shy of a positive points differential on the season, not something often said about a team with more than twice as many losses as wins.

With just 30 seconds remaining in the game, the Crusades demolished an attempted lineout drive by Moana Pasifika, punctuating a dominant performance. The final whistle was blown with the score 43-10.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain
Search