Newsletter

Get the Sport24 daily newsletter delivered to your Inbox!

LIVE

    Crusaders launch stunning comeback to floor Blues

    2017-03-17 10:17

    Christchurch - The Crusaders claimed their third successive come-from-behind win of the season when they beat the Blues 33-24 on Friday.

    As it happened Crusaders 33-24 Blues

    Just like their previous fixtures against the Highlanders and the Reds, the seven-time champions were trailing by a huge deficit at half-time but launched a superb second half fightback and eventually outscored the Blues by five tries to three.

    The result means the Crusaders are still unbeaten after four matches and they move provisionally top of the New Zealand conference although that situation could change if the Chiefs beat the Rebels later on Friday.

    Meanwhile, the Blues leave Christchurch with their tail between their legs and they are still in fourth place in the New Zealand conference although they could be at the bottom of the table if the Highlanders beat the Hurricanes on Saturday.

    The Blues were fastest out of the blocks and after dominating the early exchanges, George Moala crossed for the opening try in the 11th minute after Augustine Pulu and Matt Duffy played prominent roles in the build-up.

    The Crusaders seemed stunned by that opening salvo from their opponents but a quick change in tactics saw the home side gradually taking control of proceedings.

    After a 30m drive from a lineout inside the visitors' half, the ball was shifted it wide to Ryan Crotty who was tackled into touch close to the Blues' corner flag by Melani Nanai.

    Five minutes later the hosts took the ball through several phases inside the Blues' 22 before Bryn Hall fired out a superb skip pass to Manasa Mataele, who dived over in the left-hand corner.

    It did not take long for the Blues to respond, however, and five minutes later Pulu crossed for his side's second try after side-stepping a couple of opponents deep inside the Crusaders' half.

    Shortly afterwards, the Blues took the ball through several phases inside the Blues half before Moala found himself in space on the edge of the home side's 22. The All Black was confronted by Joe Moody but ghosted past the prop thanks to a superb turn of speed before crossing for his second try.

    Flyhalf Piers Francis slotted the conversion which meant the Blues had their tails up as they led 21-5 at the interval.

    The visitors were fastest out of the blocks after the break when a Francis penalty extended his sid's lead to 24-5 in the 48th minute, but it wasn't long before the Crusaders took control of proceedings.

    In the 53rd minute the hosts were camped close to the Blues' tryline and they were soon celebrating when Pete Samu spotted a gap at a ruck before barging over.

    Mitchell Hunt added the extras and two minutes later, he slotted his second conversion when Ben Funnell crossed for the Crusaders' third try from a lineout drive inside the Blues' 22.

    That meant the Blues led 24-19 and for the next 10 minutes the men from Auckland were on the defensive before Hunt rounded off a flowing move which tied the score at 24-24.

    His conversion gave his side the lead for the first time in the match and they secured the result when Mitchell Drummond sold Patrick Tuipulotu a dummy before crossing for his side's fifth try in injury time.

    Two weeks ago, the Crusaders came back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Highlanders 30-27 in Dunedin, while last weekend they overturned a 17-0 deficit to beat the Reds 22-20 in Brisbane.

    Scorers:

    Crusaders

    Tries: Manasa Mataele, Peter Samu, Ben Funnell, Mitchell Hunt, Mitchell Drummond
    Conversions: Hunt (4)

    Blues

    Tries: George Moala (2), Augustine Pulu
    Conversions: Piers Francis (3)
    Penalty: Francis

    Teams

    Crusaders

    15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10  Mitchell Hunt, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Jed Brown, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui

    Blues

    15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5  Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu

    Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    31 March 2017
    • Highlanders v Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    01 April 2017
    • Blues v Force, Eden Park 06:15
    • Chiefs v Bulls, FMG Stadium Waikato 08:35
    • Reds v Hurricanes, Suncorp Stadium 10:45
    • Stormers v Cheetahs, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    02 April 2017
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Allianz Stadium 08:05

    Results

    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017
    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Of the current crop of rugby commentators - across all languages - who is your favourite?

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.