Plucky Brumbies rue defensive slips as Crusaders storm home

A ruthless 36-point haul in the second-half has seen the Crusaders continue the Brumbies’ decade-long drought in Christchurch.

Despite missing David Pocock and three other Wallabies, the Brumbies had the better of a hectic first half and led the Kiwi powerhouses 7-0 at halftime.

But after picking up two yellow-cards for high tackles, the Brumbies had to play with 14 men for 20 minutes in the second half and the Crusaders made them pay dearly.

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The defending Super Rugby champions scored five tries after oranges and shut the door on any potential upset.

The Brumbies rallied with a late try to Tevita Kuridrani but with depth already tested on their bench due to their missing Wallabies, they were left to a succession of high tackles in the second half.

The Crusaders scored one try when Toni Pulu was off and then another two when Sam Carter was binned midway through the second period.

“It’s hard enough to play them with 15, it’s disappointing, we just slipped up high and we have to be better at adapting when we were in those situations. We will learn from that,” Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano said.

“I was really impressed with the first half, we came out with the right intent and it’s just a shame we couldn’t continue that in the second half. Credit to the Crusaders, they put us under a lot of pressure and can hurt you from everywhere.”

The Brumbies held a 7-0 lead at halftime after a hectic opening first 40 minutes.

The first half began at a crazy pace, which saw the ball in play 12 minutes of the first 20.

Neither side managed to notch a point in that opening quarter but the Brumbies were harder on attack, and they turned down two kickable penalties from straight in front to keep up the pressure.

Murray Douglas crossed the line in the 24th minute after an intense forward push, but dropped the ball just as he went to ground.

The Crusaders went down a man in the 27th minute when Owen Franks was sin-binned for a shoulder-charge on Henry Speight, and the Brumbies made them pay.

With good efficiency, the Brumbies went downfield and resumed siege on the Crusaders’ line. 

Again spurning penalty kicks, they opted for two scrums but the Crusaders didn’t yield at the set-piece. Instead, a quick tap from another penalty soon after by Joe Powell saw Christian Lealiifano hit the line hard and, using Tevita Kurdrani as an inside decoy, slip through and score.

The Crusaders got Franks back and had a chance to reply as halftime loomed but the Brumbies succesfully repelled a rolling maul on their line to take a 7-0 lead into the sheds.

The Crusaders were always going to come out strong and they got on the board early in the second half when Reece scored from a strong scrum platform.

Quinten Strange had a try disallowed soon after but Will Jordan scored the first of his two tries – despite Pulu’s yellow-card high tackle within minutes. 

Jordan scored another when Richie Mounga made a long break minutes later, and though the Brumbies held firm with 14 thereafter, they’d no sooner got their full numbers back than Carter went high and went off.

The Crusaders rolled forward with their tails up, and Jordan Taufua and a second from Reece from an intercept ended the contest.



Crusaders 36

Tries: Reece 2, Jordan 2, Taufua

Cons: Mounga 3, Cameron

Pens: Cameron

Brumbies 14

Tries: Lealiifano, Kuridrani

Cons: Lealiifano 2

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