Sevu Reece and Will Jordan scored two tries apiece as the Crusaders claimed a 36-14 bonus-point win against the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Brumbies were in control for the first half of this contest. They took the fight to the Crusaders forwards and matched the New Zealanders for intensity. After 40 minutes, they led 7-0.
All Blacks prop Owen Franks was shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge in the 28th minute. The Crusaders battled to impose themselves legally, and for a time it seemed like the Brumbies were on the verge of a famous win in Christchurch.
The second half was a different story, though.
The Crusaders found their mojo at the set pieces and collisions to lay the platform for their dangerous backs. The Brumbies lost their heads – with wing Toni Pulu and lock Sam Carter receiving yellow cards for separate foul play incidents.
Sevu Reece crossed the line in the 44th minute to score the Crusaders’ first points of the game. Will Jordan struck twice before the hour mark as the hosts started to assert their dominance.
Carter’s departure provided the Crusaders with an opportunity to push for the bonus point. Replacement flank Jordan Taufua dived for the tryline to record the hosts’ fourth touchdown.
Reece scored his second of the game when he intercepted a pass and sprinted into the end zone. The Brumbies scored a late try through Tevita Kuridrani, but that effort did nothing to detract from what was an emphatic victory for the hosts.
Crusaders – Tries: Sevu Reece (2), Will Jordan (2), Jordan Taufua. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (3). Penalty: Brett Cameron.
Brumbies – Tries: Christian Lealiifano, Tevita Kuridrani. Conversion: Lealiifano (2).
Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku.
Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Jahrome Brown, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Andy Muirhead.
Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images