Crusaders players ratings: The Crusaders resumed control of their Super Rugby Aotearoa title hopes for at least another week, defeating a valiant Chiefs side 32-19 in Hamilton. The loss extends the Chiefs unbeaten run in the competition so far.

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After a tense opening forty-minutes, the Crusaders led by seven at the break with captain Codie Taylor crossing for a try courtesy of a powerful driving maul.

Even though the Chiefs brought the scores to as close as one-point after the break, 12 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes saw the Crusaders run away with a much-needed victory.

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The Breakdown – Ep 27

It was an uncharacteristically disappointing night off the tee for flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, but the set-piece of the Crusaders made sure that they didn’t pay for those missed points. Sam Whitelock was one of the standouts on Saturday night, celebrating his 150th Super Rugby match in style.

Here’s the RugbyPass Crusaders players ratings:

George Bower – 7/10
Bower replaced Joe Moody this week, and took his opportunity with both hands. The Crusaders had a dominant scrum throughout the match, but Bower made an impact elsewhere as well. He finished with eight tackles and seven carries. He didn’t look out of place.

Codie Taylor – 8.5/10
A true captain’s knock from the All Blacks hooker, who bounced back after an average showing last weekend against the Hurricanes. For a hooker, his performance was near perfect. Taylor was outstanding, finishing with a perfect night from the lineout. The 29-year-old showed great hands to set up Sanders for a break that led to the first try of the night, and later scored one of his own on the stroke of half-time.

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Michael Alaalatoa – 6.5/10
The Crusaders scrum was dominant tonight and Alaalatoa was a big reason to why that was. He got busy around the park, getting involved mainly in attack. Shame to see him limp off the field with a knee injury less than ten minutes into the second half.

Sam Whitelock – 8.5/10
Was arguably the man-of-the-match in his 150th Super Rugby match, showcasing his elite work rate and leadership that has brought him so much praise over the years. The Crusaders had an excellent night from the set-piece, and Whitelock was a large contributor to that. He was the primary lineout option with five receptions, and pressured the Chiefs lineout too. The 31-year-old also finished with ten tackles. An incredible performance.

Mitch Dunshea – 7/10
After a slow start to the match, Dunshea’s work rate seemed to pick up in the ten minutes before the half-time break. Finished the match with a solid eight tackles.

Sione Havili – 6.5/10
A quiet night from Havili. He finished with eight carries, but couldn’t impact the match much.

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Tom Christie – 7.5/10
Christie got busy tonight, doing a lot of work that probably went unnoticed. He finished with six carries, but also the most tackles of any Crusaders player with 14.

Tom Sanders – 7/10
Sanders scored the first try of the match, pinning the ears back on an impressive spurt down the left edge that saw him run over a courageous Damien McKenzie. Otherwise a quiet night, where he only stood out in moments.

Mitchell Drummond – 7/10
The Crusaders don’t lose anything whenever Drummond steps into the starting side. He controlled the tempo of the match well, but maybe wasn’t at his best.

Richie Mo’unga – 8/10
Every time Mo’unga ran the ball, he looked dangerous, constantly offering offloads that would’ve sent teammates into space. While he didn’t kick as well as what he would’ve liked, both off the tee and around the ground, he did more than enough to guide his side to a useful victory.

George Bridge – 8/10
George Bridge is all class and he showed that again tonight. While he didn’t cross over for a try, his work around the field was very impressive. He created the overlap that led to Tom Sander’s five-pointer, coming from deep and proving hard to read and then defend. He had another try assist seven minutes later, with a pass to Jordan sending him through a gap from only a few metres out. Did his job in defence as well, finishing with the most of any Crusaders back with nine. His positioning is superb; he never overplays his hand but does exactly what his team needs him to do.

Jack Goodhue – 6.5/10
Another frustrating match for Goodhue, who didn’t get a chance to run with the ball in space. Made seven tackles, but was otherwise quiet.

Fetuli Paea – 7.5/10
You simply can’t fault Paea’s effort tonight, getting very busy in his 50 minutes on the field. When he went off, he had the most carries of any player with 10, and the second most metres run.

Sevu Reece – 7/10
As he said during the week, Reece will always have a point to prove whenever he plays in Hamilton after being overlooked by the Chiefs a couple of years ago. He got plenty of touches but was overall a frustrating night, not getting much of chance to run in space other than an ambitious carry in the 24th minute that saw him slip over the sideline untouched. Did score a try though, but even he didn’t look too sold on it when it was awarded.

Will Jordan – 8/10
Once again, Will Jordan has proven that he’s an All Black in waiting. Scored one of the easiest tries he’ll ever score, crossing over untouched from a few metres out. Nearly crossed over for his second but was stopped just centimetres short of the calk just after the break, beating a couple of defenders on his way. Finished the match with the most carries of any player with 13, and metres run with 84.

Reserves
Andrew Makalio – 6/10
Started the set piece move that led to Fainga’anuku’s try, putting Mo’unga through a gap.
Isileli Tu’ungafasi – 5.5/10
Oliver Jager – 5.5/10
Quinten Strange – 6/10
Finished with 5 tackles in his 23 minutes on the field.
Billy Harmon – 5.5/10
Bryn Hall – 6/10
Always was going to be a useful replacement.
Brett Cameron – N/A
On in the 75th.
Leicester Fainga’anuku – 6.5/10
Scored a try on the back of some impressive work from Richie Mo’unga.

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