Blues Fail To Break The Stranglehold Of Crusaders


The Crusaders have won their 12th consecutive game against the Blues with 26-15. It was an epic match with the Crusaders clinical and efficient, however, the Blues did not disgrace themselves with a big first half to put the Crusaders under sustained pressure. It was an even match with high levels of physicality, pace and instinctive play with the Crusaders going up a gear with their bench who upped the tempo in the last 20 minutes of play, to close out the game.

After 10 minutes of complete dominance, the Blues scored the first points of the game via a converted try after they camped in the Crusader's red zone for most of the time. Several attempts from the Blues were stopped just short of the Crusaders try-line in this period. The Crusaders eventually settled but could not capitalise on their opportunities. Exciting, on the edge action during the first 20 minutes with the Blues deservedly in the lead with 7-0.

Although the Crusaders started to claw their way back into the game, they could only put their first points on the board with a converted penalty after 28 minutes of the first half. The last 10 minutes of the second quarter saw the momentum swing, while the defence of the Blues coped well with the attack of the Crusaders. The Blues gave away a lot of silly penalties on defence and attack in the last 20 minutes, which help the Crusaders to reduce the Blues lead to 7-6 at half time. 

The second half started with the Blues who started as they did the first half. After both sides traded penalties, the Blues scored with 5 minutes to go in the third quarter and stretched their lead to 15-9. A quarter with 15 minutes of calm before the last 5 minutes erupted in action.

The Crusaders opened the last quarter of the match with a converted try to take the lead fo the first time in the game to lead 16-15. From this try onwards the Crusaders took complete control of the game and scored ten more unanswered points to lead 26-15 with four minutes to go, which was also the final score.


Blues: Tries: Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane. Conversion: Otere Black. Penalty: Otere Black.

Crusaders: Try: Mitchell Drummond, Will Jordan. Conversions: Richie Mo'unga (2). Penalties: Richie Mo'unga (4)

Blues: 1. Alex Hodgman, 2. James Parsons, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (C), 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Dalton Papalii, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. Finlay Christie, 10. Otere Black, 11. Caleb Clarke, 12. Harry Plummer, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Mark Telea, 15. Beauden Barrett. Replacements: 16. Kurt Eklund, 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Aaron Carroll, 20. Blake Gibson, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. TJ Faiane, 23. Matt Duffie.

Crusaders: 1. Joe Moody 2. Codie Taylor (C) 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Samuel Whitelock 5. Mitchell Dunshea 6. Tom Sanders 7. Tom Christie 8. Whetukamokamo Douglas (VC) 9. Bryn Hall 10. Richie Mo'unga 11. George Bridge 12. Jack Goodhue 13. Braydon Ennor 14. Sevu Reece 15. David Havili (VC) Replacements: 16. Andrew Makalio 17. George Bower 18. Oliver Jager 19. Quinten Strange 20. Sione Havili 21. Mitchell Drummond 22. Fetuli Paea 23. Will Jordan.