Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Former Wallaby refuses to ‘put a line through’ Crusaders’ title hopes

By Finn Morton
The Crusaders look dejected after defeat during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between NSW Waratahs and Crusaders at Allianz Stadium, on April 12, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

They may sit second last on the ladder with a disastrous 1-6 record but the Crusaders are still in with a chance of defending their Super Rugby Pacific titles according to former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles.

ADVERTISEMENT

After starting the season with five defeats on the trot, the Crusaders snapped their uncharacteristically poor losing run with an upset 37-26 win over New Zealand rivals the Chiefs late last month.

The Crusaders went on a bye before turning their focus to a Trans-Tasman blockbuster in Sydney. The equally-as-desperate Waratahs waited for them, and the thriller more than lived up to the hype.

Related

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Wing Sevu Reece scored the opening try inside the opening minute, but after trading points for more than 80 minutes, both teams went to golden point. In the end, the Waratahs emerged victorious.

Replacement Will Harrison handed the Crusaders their sixth loss of the season from seven starts – and their second defeat to the Waratahs in 2024 – with a clutch drop goal at Allianz Stadium.

The Waratahs sit just one point outside the top eight now while the Crusaders are six points off the pace. But Super Rugby winner Stephen Hoiles won’t rule the reigning champions out just yet.

“Not yet. Can I have another week on that one? One more week, one more week and we’ll put a line through their name,” Hoiles said on Stan Sports’ Between Two Posts.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Even for the Tahs this week, as good as that win was, then they’ve got Moana go on a win.”

With the Waratahs leading by just four points with a couple of minutes to play, the Crusaders need a hero. Replacement Christian Lio-Willie was the player who rose to the occasion at the death.

Lio-Willie scored what was believed to be the match-winning try with about 90 seconds to play, but the Waratahs were gifted another opportunity to claw their way back after the conversion.

Will Harrison slotted a long-range penalty attempt to send the clash to extra-time with a scoreline of 40-all. Harrison’s heroics weren’t done there with the fly-half nailing a drop goal to win it.

After more than 700 days, Harrison returned to Super Rugby Pacific after an unfortunate run of injures earlier this season. But this was the crowning moment for a man who “didn’t think he was going to play rugby again.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“We both know Will really well. We’ve seen him come all the way through. We worked closely with Mark Harrison, his dad,” former Wallaby Morgan Turinui explained alongside Stephen Hoiles.

“The family have had a tumultuous year, two years… lots of things going on.

“I coached Jack, his brother. Ella works for us at the front gate at Coogee Oval. They’re a Randwick family… I know what the family around Will have gone through as well.

“There were lots of times where you didn’t think he was going to play rugby again, let alone get back to that level.

“He’s a great kid. There’s lots of other stories like that, it’s just that we have a really close connection to the people around it so we’ve seen firsthand what goes beyond him to get to that moment on the weekend.

“To see him come through, pretty happy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

A
Abe 3 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

7 Go to comments
T
Turlough 7 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING England U20s subjected to first half thrashing by Coventry England U20s subjected to first half thrashing by Coventry
Search