Crusaders end Blues' Super Rugby Aotearoa finals chances with sizeable victory
The Blue still have one more game left to play in this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, but it will only be pride on the line after failing to secure a competition point in today’s loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Blues needed a solitary point from the game to keep themselves in the hunt for a spot in the finals but, following a close first half, the Crusaders came to life in the second spell to ultimately prevail 29-6.
The victory spells the end of the Blues’ chances for Super Rugby Aotearoa glory. They need to finish the season on more competition points than the Chiefs in order to progress to the grand final, as the tie-break if the teams are level would fall the way of the Chiefs, who will inevitably finish the regular season with a greater number of wins. That’s now an impossible task.
Will Jordan was arguably the player of the match, scoring two tries for the home side – their first and last.
Fullback Jordan brushed off five potential tacklers to open the scoring in the fifth minute and delivered the bonus point seven minutes from time by chasing down a David Havili kick.
The Crusaders opened up a 12-0 lead when winger Sevu Reece crossed for a second try in the 28th minute and were thereafter able to rely on the defence that has helped them win four straight Super Rugby titles.
The Blues looked dangerous all afternoon and had their best chances in the early exchanges but number eight Hoskins Sotutu was held up over the line by Jordan after a rampaging run and the home side repelled a threatening rolling maul.
Three penalty kicks were the only further scoring for 30 minutes until the hour mark when the Crusaders showed the Blues how to execute the catch-and-drive with hooker Codie Taylor awarded the try to take the lead to 22-6.
Jordan was on hand again 10 minutes from time to end a threatening break from Blues flanker Akira Ioane and a few minutes later was touching down at the other end to provide the final score.
Crusaders captain Scott Barrett was delighted with his team’s display in front of a sell-out crowd after defeats in two of their last three matches.
“On the back of a couple of weeks that we haven’t been proud of as a team, we showed in that performance what we want,” he said. “I’m proud of that performance.”
– with Reuters
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