The Crusaders’ defence laid the foundation for their 38-5 win over the Reds on Friday, according to SARugbymag.co.za's Opta-powered stats.
Coming into the clash, the Saders boasted the best tackle success in the competition (87.6%), and their defensive wall was once again virtually impenetrable against the Reds. The Crusaders had just 30% of possession and were forced to make 133 tackles compared to 35 from the Reds, yet they missed only 13. By contrast, the Aussie side slipped 19 tackles.
The Crusaders have only averaged 99 tackles per game this season, but in the first half alone they had to complete 66 hits against the Reds. Despite this, they kept the visitors scoreless in the opening stanza, while they also conceded no points, even when captain Kieran Read spent 10 minutes in the sin bin midway through the second half.
Flanker Matt Todd was simply outstanding on defence, completing 18 tackles, while missing none. He was complemented by the men around him, with locks Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett each completing eight tackles, while Read and fellow flanker Jordan Taufua made six hits each.
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