At Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch: Crusaders 61 (Leicester Fainga’anuku strive 2min, Tom Christie strive 15min, Sam Whitelock strive 28min; Sevu Reece tries 37min and 53 min, Fergus Burke strive 47 min, George Bridge strive 62min, Braydon Ennor strive 70min, Tom Christie strive 75min; Burke 8 con) Fijian Drua 3 (Teti Tela pen). HT: 28-3.
Yellow card: Selestino Ravutaumada 69 min
This might have been as fairly as an overflowing ashtray.
As a substitute, the Crusaders delivered a big bouquet to their hardy followers, who braved the frigid Christchurch air to look at their workforce rating 9 tries throughout the 61-3 win over the Fijian Drua at Orangetheory Stadium on Friday night time.
Typically, when a powerhouse franchise just like the Crusaders sends out an understrength aspect towards a struggling outfit such because the Drua in Tremendous Rugby Pacific, you inhale deeply and mumble to your self about looking for gold nuggets in a compost heap.
As a result of what number of occasions have we watched a high aspect fail to provide a scientific efficiency in a recreation they need to win in a canter, particularly once they go away a bunch of their greatest gamers within the grandstand?
This might have been a type of events, with coach Scott Robertson electing to relaxation Pablo Matera, David Havili, Will Jordan, Richie Mo’unga, whereas Codie Taylor was nursing injured ribs.
But it surely was not. It was a largely entertaining efficiency and worthy of reward.
Captain Scott Barrett was transferred to blindside flanker, to permit Zach Gallagher to start out alongside Sam Whitelock within the second row and Ethan Blackadder switched to No 8 the place, it so occurred, he mixed with openside flanker Tom Christie to provide a excessive sort out depend.
When the Crusaders saved turning up the warmth on the Drua, who struggled to get any dividends out of their kicking technique usually play, they dished up loads of free-flowing footy.
It started with left wing Leicester Fainga’anuku, who was bristling with energy and stability on assault and absolutely deserves to have a number of further ticks beside his identify on the subject of All Blacks choice, offering an appetising starter when he scored within the left pocket within the opening minutes.
The Crusaders’ set items had been environment friendly, their scrambling defence was enthusiastic and, a lot to everybody’s delight, veteran lock Whitelock ran a ripper of a line to attain a positive strive.
Fergus Burke, at first five-eighth instead of Mo’unga, succeeded with eight of 9 conversion makes an attempt and midfielder Braydon Ennor survived a head conflict in a sort out from Selestino Ravutaumada to attain a strive a couple of minutes later.
Inevitably, that incident resulted in a yellow card; whether or not it was the precise name is anybody’s guess – and given the present confusion about these collisions that needs to be no shock – however towards 14 males inside the ultimate 10 minutes the Crusaders simply saved pouring on the strain.
Subsequent over the chalk was Christie, and few might argue he didn’t deserve a plum to speak about over his post-game ginger beers.
That was the ultimate five-pointer of the night time. A pleasant technique to drop the curtain.
The large second
The Crusaders didn’t dither. It took simply two minutes for Fainga’anuku to nail the primary strive within the left-hand nook, and in doing so he and his mates within the native workforce’s colors let the Drua know they had been in for an uncomfortable night time.
You possibly can’t complain when a workforce scores this many tries. Settle for it for what it’s. If you would like a better end result, search elsewhere. You gained’t must go far.
The large image
The Crusaders overtake the Brumbies on the log, advancing into second place on 48 factors. The Crusaders will stay there if the Blues (50) beat or draw with the Brumbies (43) in Canberra on Saturday night time.
Christie rattled up 18 tackles throughout his shift. It’s at all times good to acknowledge the workhorses.