The Crusaders have begun Super Rugby Aotearoa from where they left off earlier in the year and it was the typical standouts who had strong games once again after a few months with no play.

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In the end, the Crusaders cruised to their 39-25 victory and survived a charging Hurricanes, managing to get control of their discipline in a highly penalized game.

Particular standouts were Bryn Hall, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga and the front row trio. Here are the player ratings for the Crusaders as scored by RugbyPass.

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1. Joe Moody – 6/10

Combining well with Alaalatoa, Moody was as effective at cleaning out opposition forwards at the breakdown to stop the Hurricanes having any chance of turning over.

2. Codie Taylor – 4

Some good throws at the lineout and a typically solid performance in most aspects. Also his first time captaining the Crusaders – probably needed to rein his team in earlier to keep the penalty count down.

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3. Michael Alaalatoa – 7

A menace for the Hurricanes at the breakdown, Alaalatoa worked well alongside his propping partner to get good results for the Crusaders with ball in hand. Dicey scrum at the start but made up for it with a couple of savage efforts later in the game.

4. Sam Whitelock – 4

Some good carries but also a few mistakes by the veteran, good to see him back on the park nonetheless.

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5. Mitchell Dunshea – 4

Like his locking partner, fairly quiet around the park. Dunshea has been reliable, if not a stand-out, in his performances in 2020 – but may struggle for game-time when all the Crusaders locks are fit and available, just based on this performance.

6. Cullen Grace – 7

Another tidy showing from the young man. Topped the Crusaders tackle charts and threw a nice pass for the first try of the match. Also called upon to make the most carries of any Crusaders forward.

7. Billy Harmon – 6

Something of an unsung hero for the Crusaders forwards on many occasions, Harmon was noticbly busy on defence, getting involved and making good tackles often in combination with teammates.

8. Whetukamokamo Douglas – 5

Not the greatest impact on a game for Douglas and guilty of making some errors but managed a few takes at the lineout.

9. Bryn Hall – 8

Bryn Hall put in a masterful performance, particularly in the opening stanza, helping the Crusaders quickly recycle attacking ball from the breakdown.

In tune with Mo’unga from the very start, Hall’s perfectly weighted chip kick to setup Brayden Ennor for a try in the corner also shows his ability to spot holes and adapt rather than pass on during set play. There is no doubt that the 28-year old has established himself as one of the top halfbacks in the country.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7

Kicking the goals that mattered, Mo’unga was a nightmare for the Hurricanes defenders and operated the Crusaders backline with ease compared to his opposite. Hasn’t missed a beat in the period with rugby.

11. George Bridge – 6

Another solid performance. If the ball had bounced a bit differently, Bridge could have had a brace of tries. Outshone by his partner on the other wing.

12. Jack Goodhue – 5

Leaving the field after being awarded a yellow card, Goodhue had some time to think about what was a quiet game by his standards. A core issue for the Crusaders in this game had been penalties. After a warning, Goodhue just happened to be the man to see yellow after making the decisive infringement. Penalised three times – not good enough from one of the team’s leaders.

13. Braydon Ennor – 7

Ennor only went for one half today, clearly a pre-match directive, but his impact on the game was as sizeable as ever. Pace, power, and solid work on defence made for another impressive performance by one of the best backs in the country.

14. Sevu Reece – 8

Reece obviously had a desire to run more than usual today. With his sleekish ability and top notch footwork, Reece was a menace again and had already crossed the line for yet another try within the first minute.

15. Will Jordan – 7

Getting himself involved, Jordan’s pace and ability to keep defenders made for impressive runs more often than not with ball in hand. Clocked up almost 100-metres with ball in hand. Nice to see him back in the fullback jersey.

Reserves:

16. Brodie McAlister – N/A

17. George Bower – 6

18. Oliver Jager – 5

19. Luke Romano – N/A

20. Ethan Blackadder – 6

Earned one nice penalty.

21. Mitchell Drummond – 6

Maintained the pace set by Hall.

22. David Havili – 5

Looked a bit frantic at times – probably just pumped to be out on the park after a small injury break.

23. Leicester Faingaanuku – N/A

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