Crusaders vs Highlanders: Super Rugby live scores, blog

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    Crusaders vs Highlanders

    Super Rugby, 6 July, 2018

    AMI Stadium
    Fulltime - Crusaders 45, Highlanders 22
    Crusaders   Highlanders
    45 FINAL SCORE 22
    5 TRIES 3
    0 DROP GOALS 0
    Referee: Brendon Pickerill
    Touch judges: Michael Fraser & Jamie Nutbrown
    TMO: Aaron Paterson

    The Crusaders go head-to-head with the Highlanders in Christchurch as both sides look to build momentum into the finals. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 5:35pm (AEST).

    The Crusaders have secured their spot in the finals and the Highlanders are pretty much guaranteed to play rugby into late July as well.

    But the sub stories should not be ignored – this game matters!

    Kieran Read will likely take the field for kick off and get his first minutes of competitive rugby in 2018. He says that his back is feeling fine and the real issue is his match fitness and sharpness, so there’s a chance we’ll only get to see 40 to 50 minutes of him.

    It’s also a big game for the old warhorse Wyatt Crockett – the Crusaders legend will rack up his 200th Super Rugby game. Love him or hate him, to have 200 not out against your name in the professional era is impressive.

    The Crusaders might have talent across the park and be leading the overall competition but the international break and the bye last week means now is the time to get back up to speed and charge into the finals in peak form.

    The Highlanders are one of only two teams to beat the Crusaders this year and they definitely have the talent to be a threat. Ben Smith needs to fire and the 9-10 combo of Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga must be at its best.

    The Highlanders are in sixth position on the overall ladder and with a home game against the Rebels in the final round they are a good bet for the finals. However, the flying Jaguares are just behind them and so a win today for the men from Dunedin will take the pressure off that final game.

    The Crusaders will have to play well to win, but with so much to inspire them, as well as their usual professionalism, they should secure victory.

    Crusaders by 12 points.

    Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 5:25pm (AEST).

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    The Crowd Says (83)

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    • 9:27pm
      lassitude said | 9:27pm | ! Report

      Very pleased with the result. Good shift from Crocky and Read and Mounga.

      But really how good is Ben Smith ? decent athleticism and he just does everything right – tremendous grit and determination as well.

      • 8:24am
        moa said | 8:24am | ! Report

        @ Lassitude
        Smith doesn’t appear particularly brilliant at any one thing…it’s just he is so damned efficient at nearly all of them!
        I thought he was inspirational last night but the Highlanders were clearly ( seemed to me) chasing the game at 10 points adrift onwards and just forced things a little too much and even Smith couldn’t change the result.

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 8:45pm | ! Report

      Full Match Report
      The Crusaders have locked in #1 spot in the competition with a good win over the Highlanders at Wyatt Crockett Stadium 45 – 22.

      The game had two very different halves. In the first there was fantastic entertainment with both sides scoring some wonderful tries and playing good rugby for the most part. What stood out though was that while the Highlanders could pose a threat from almost anywhere, they did struggle to put together big periods of consistent dominance and control. Their top players really played well with both Ben Smith and Liam Squires having very good games. But the Crusaders were not put under long periods of pressure throughout the game.

      However when the Crusaders had the ball they were able to hold onto it and just keep gaining ground. They were able to combine the threat of being able to score from distance with some lovely individual skill or to grind the Highlanders down with phase after phase after phase until the inevitable chink in the armour was found and exploited.

      The Crusaders first try was a good example of this – large number of phases strung together and eventually Hall was able to find Bridge in some space on the wing and he was in to open the scoring.

      This pattern continued for a lot of the game. The Crusaders had over 60% of the possession and with that ball they made 6 more line breaks than the Highlanders, 8 more off loads and almost 300 more metres run.

      While the Highlanders could stay with them in the first half and scored a couple of great tries, they couldn’t keep up with the pace and as the game went on the Crusaders were able to pull away bit by bit and the visitors just couldn’t keep up.

      It wasn’t a perfect performance by the Crusaders by any means – they’d have liked to have given away fewer than 10 penalties and there was a period in the second half where their execution dropped right off. But other teams will be looking at this match and wondering how they can be stopped.

      Kieran Reed played about 50 minutes and was very good. Nothing extravagant but he competed hard at the rucks and was often a crucial link in the Crusader attacks putting other men into space for them to burst into. The Crusaders were very good before – with Reed back they are going to be a very, very difficult prospect for anyone to take on.

      The Highlanders arguably didn’t deserve to lose by so many but they know that they need to beat the Rebels next week to secure their finals spot and go into those knockout rounds with some momentum.

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:28pm | ! Report

      Full Time
      80‘ – The Crusaders have beaten a valiant Highlanders side in a good game in Christchurch that saw Kieran Reed return from injury, Wyatt Crockett rack up his 200th appearance and the home side lock in the regular season #1 spot.

      The first half was great with both sides scoring some lovely tries and showing great attacking flair. The second half struggled to get into the same sort of rhythm and there was a period of about 20 minutes or so where there was a real struggle for control for both sides.

      In the end though the Crusaders wrapped things up in style with more points and will have ruined any opponent’s vague hope that the international break had blunted the Christchurch team’s cutting edge.

      Ben Smith and Liam Squires were very good for the Highlanders and while the scoreline shows a 20 point gap, the Highlanders were impressive. The Crusaders though were just too good and where the Highlanders were perhaps their own worst enemy at times, the home side were just so efficient with turning possession into points and keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

      Full match report to follow.

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

    • Roar Guru

      taylorman said | 7:25pm | ! Report

      Wyatt Crockett, legend. 200 matches for the Crusaders?

      Can think of a worse way to live a life.😀👍

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:21pm | ! Report

      80‘ – Final hooter sounds and we’ve got another scrum reset that needs to be sorted before the Crusaders can celebrate.

      Highlanders put in and they get it back but the rush defence is fantastic and they Crusaders have earned themselves a penalty in front of the posts.

      Time for Wyatt Crockett to score some points???

      No the Crusaders tap and kick it out and the game is over with a good win for the Crusaders.

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:18pm | ! Report

      79‘ – Highlanders win their line out and look to make something happen in the final minutes.

      Ben Smith again showing his quality as he makes some ground with defenders all around him.

      But the Crusaders ge the ball back and as they search for space down the wing they knock on and we’ll have a scrum.

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

    • Roar Guru

      taylorman said | 7:17pm | ! Report

      Oh well. Shut the gate. Crusaders will be S15 champs… again. No one will beat them in Christchurch. No way hoseeee😀

      • 7:22pm
        Highlander said | 7:22pm | ! Report

        Didn’t think we were too bad but a few small exit and handling errors and the Crusaders deliver the rapier to the heart over and over.
        Really didn’t understand the strategy of going to the air in the second half when we were finding enough gaps up the middle.
        Congrats Crockzilla

        • Roar Guru

          taylorman said | 8:46pm | ! Report

          Gave the H’s a chance going in but not to be. SR seasons over as far as Im concerned. Saders to lock another one away. Quite amazing how they keep putting out table topping sides.

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:17pm | ! Report

      77‘ – Highlanders scrum on their own 5m line and they earn the penalty.

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:15pm | ! Report

      75‘ – Final 5 minutes and the Highlanders have it just inside the Crusaders half.

      Well they did but then Mataele has stolen the ball and is into the back field and is clear – surely he scores from here!?

      NO!!! What a chase from Ben Smith – he’s caught the gas man, tackled him just short of the line and forced the knock on so the Highlanders will get the scrum!

      That is amazing defence and mentality from Ben Smith!

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

    • Roar Guru

      Oliver Matthews said | 7:13pm | ! Report

      Penalty Goal
      74‘ – Mo’unga is lining up another chance for points here as he goes for the penalty goal.

      And he’s got it! Just stretching that lead even further and allowing players to catch their breath at the same time.

      Crusaders: 45
      Highlanders: 22

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