Crusader In Epic Win Against Highlanders


The first match of the 4th round of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa series was an epic, high paced and exciting contest. The Crusaders managed to win 40-20 against a game Highlanders with the game still up for grabs after the first 60 minutes. However, the scoreline doesn't do justice to the Highlanders who took it right up to the champs before falling just short.

The Crusaders dominated the early proceedings and a try to Will Jordan saw them race to an early lead. However, the Highlanders dug deep and struck back with a try to Frizell to trial 8-7 after an exciting first 20 minutes. 

A try minutes into the second quarter by the Highlanders gave them a 14-8 lead with the Highlanders in control. The Crusaders were able to steady the ship thanks to some accurate kicking from Mo'unga, however, Hunt' converted penalty booted the Highlanders into the lead at the break. The Highlanders holding a narrow 17-14 lead at half time

The third quarter saw the Crusaders use every try-scoring opportunity and after two great finishes by Christie and especially Reece the Crusader lead 26-20. Everyone on the edge of their seats with 20 pulsating minutes left in Dunedin!

The last 20 minutes of the game continued at a brilliant pace with the Crusaders' relentless attack securing them a well-earned 40-20 win against the great defence of the Highlanders. The Crusaders last try in the dying seconds of the match with the Highlanders on the attack maybe a bit unfair. With 20 minutes to go in the game, it could still have gone either way. It will take a special team to keep the Crusaders from being crowned as champions.

The Crusaders will face the unbeaten Blues on Saturday 11 July in a match that could just be the season decider. The Highlanders will face the Hurricanes next Sunday.

Crusaders: Tries: Will Jordan (2), Tom Christie (2), Sevu Reece. Conversion: Richie Mo'unga (3). Penalty: Richie Mo'unga (3).

Highlanders: Tries: Shannon Frizell, Ngatungane Punivai. Conversions: Mitch Hunt (2). Penalties: Mitch Hunt (2).

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

Highlanders: 15. Michael Collins, 14. Ngatungane Punivai, 13. Rob Thompson, 12. Patelesio Tomkinson, 11. Jona Nareki, 10. Mitch Hunt, 9. Aaron Smith (CC), 8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7. Dillon Hunt, 6. Shannon Frizell, 5. Josh Dickson, 4. Paripari Parkinson, 3. Jeff Thwaites, 2. Liam Coltman, 1. Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: 16. Ash Dixon(CC), 17. Ayden Johnstone, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Jack Whetton, 20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. Vilimoni Koroi.