It was deja vu all over again in Super Rugby Aotearoa as we went to golden point, extra time for the second day running. 27-all at the end of 80 but it was the Crusaders who came out of the extra time blocks, David Havili with a dropped goal after only 1 minute of golden time to seal the game 30-27.
The Crusaders have certainly come off the boil and it will encourage all the other teams for the remainder of this tournament. The Hurricanes played heroically but will rue their ineptitude at the line out time ( just over 50% execution) and moments of indiscipline. Again.
Here are the Hurricanes’ ratings.
1. Xavier Numia – 7.5
Nice break that led to Laumape try but the pass went astray. The scrum was solid at the Canes put in so well done to the loosehead. Great turnover at 56 to spark attack from Laumape and then moments later made a good gallop that led to a penalty that made it 27-20. Off at 64.
2. Dane Coles – 6.5
He plays like he needs a strait jacket, doesn’t have any regard for his body at the contact area. Good turnovers on Havili 7th minute and at 34 on Jordan. Lineout throwing wasn’t great but at least the scrum worked. Off at 57.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 8
Big presence in the midfield, and an immovable plinth at scrumtime. Capped off a big day at the office with scrum penalty at 50. It was a tribute to both props that they were kept on until 64 minutes and after that the scrum was wobbly and the Crusaders came back.
4. James Blackwell – 6.5
Set the try up for Julian Savea with a magic draw and pass at 31 minutes. Top tackler for his team as well. I always feel that with Blackwell and Princep they are at least one line out option short.
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere- 5.5
Off at 51. Not a great day for the lock, tried hard at the lineout but leaked two penalties.
6. Reed Princep – 5.5
Solid but not spectacular as usual with a good tackle count.
7. Ardie Savea – 8.5
He just wasn’t going to lose and played with defiance, was destructive at the breakdown and regularly broke down Crusader’s forays. The stats showed he made more turnovers than tackles. Good ploy running off 8 with a steady scrum. Looked like game over at 44 minutes with a leg injury but hopped around on one leg and got another turnovers at 47 and 55. Off at 61 and sadly that seemed to allow the Crusaders back in the match.
8. Devan Flanders – 7
Got turned over at 6 minutes. Had a brave go at stopping Bridge at close range but couldn’t stop the try. Game in defence. Off at 57
9. Luke Campbell – 5
Looked pedestrian at times especially when he took steps from the bottom of the ruck and then a charge down from his box kick at 46 that caused trouble. Off at 67.
10. Ruben Love – 6.5
Great first touch in the first minute as he made 70 metres for his team with some velocity off the mark and an astute kick. Bright touches with a lovely rapier running style.
11. Wes Goosen – 7
Finally got himself in the game for the first time this season. There was some debate about why Goosen was on the left wing and he showed with some nimble footwork off the left foot for his try. He always looked dangerous, well done to him to turn it around.
12. Ngani Laumape – 6
Played angry but in the final wash it didn’t’t serve his team well. First few minutes dropped a ball on attack, helped Bridge over for his try trying to smash him, ran backwards at 13 minutes after getting in the way of a Jordie challenge in the air. Then at 27 minutes powered over after getting the ball on the front foot but a brain explosion with a yellow card on halftime. Some good skill with his kicking and passing in the second half, that may give him some redemption but the best thing would have been to score a match-winning try!
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 6
Strong break in the 20th minute but it would have been good to see him run more, like his brother did last week against the Crusaders. Is a sure defender but had a huge challenge keeping Fainga’anuku quiet.
14. Julian Savea – 6
Felt a bit sorry for the penalty he conceded after 14 minutes , the Crusaders player seemed to run at him. Met his match in the air with Bridge. Had some good surges especially when Laumape was off. Off at 72.
15. Jordie Barrett – 6.5
One of the Canes leaders with some physical play but overplayed his hand at times. Put a dent in Cody Taylor after 2 minutes but lost out with the second big run to Douglas. Got away with one at 21 minutes with another ill-advised run, luckily penalty was reversed with a head high tackle from Havili. Even though he’s the form fullback in the competition his errors reminded me of some of the clangers he’s had in a black jersey due to over-confidence and the need to seek contact rather than territory.
16. Asafo Aumua- 6.5 On 57. Enjoyed his physicality.
17. Tevita Mafileo – N/A On at 64. Packed at loosehead.
18. Alex Fidow – 5 On at 64. Good around the paddock but fans would have been holding their breath at scrum time in the last quarter hour.
19. Scott Scrafton – 6 On at 51. In the wars with a stinger and a cut.
20. Vaea Fifita – N/A On at 61. Invisible which is a shame as the Canes need a loosie who is aerially inclined.
21. du Plessis Kirifi- 6.5 On at 57. Hard as nails and careful not to infringe
22. Cam Roigard – 6 On at 67, did well distributing but had a tendency to creep down the blind by himself.
23. Billy Proctor- N/A On at 72.
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