Cape Town - The Crusaders inflicted a fifth successive defeat on the Rebels
with a 55-10 victory at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
It is another second-half capitulation for the men from
Melbourne, trailing 13-10 at half-time, only to concede 42 unanswered points in
the second half. Dave Wessels' men did a similar thing against the Waratahs in
Sydney some weeks back and their mentor will want to nip this worrying trend in
After such a promising start to the season, they have fallen by
the wayside while the Crusaders consolidate their position at the top of the
overall standings with a superb team performance. The Rebels had already missed
24 tackles in the opening 20 minutes, which was never going to bode well for
The home side opened the scoring courtesy of a Jack Debreczeni
penalty but it was the Crusaders who got the game's opening try. It all came
from Rebels number eight Amanaki Mafi being caught offside in front of the
kicker. The Crusaders opted for touch and took the ball through the phases from
left to right before they won another penalty for no clear release. They took
the quick tap and go, catching the Rebels' defence napping by going back to the
right where Seta Tamanivalu was on hand to dot down in the corner.
The Rebels were dealt a blow in the 15th minute when Reece Hodge
was sin-binned for a deliberate knockdown. The Crusaders capitalised on their
numerical advantage soon afterwards when Andrew Makalio crashed over after Pete
Samu had made the early inroads as the Rebels were guilty of missing too many
tackles. With fly-half Richie Mo'unga having missed both his conversions, the
Crusaders held a 10-3 lead with a quarter of the game gone, having enjoyed 80
percent of the possession in that period.
Two minutes before Hodge was due back on the field for the
Rebels, the Crusaders went down to 14 men in identical fashion as Matt Todd was
given his marching orders for a deliberate knockdown. From the resulting penalty,
the Rebels set up the lineout driving maul and won the five-metre scrum after
the ball was held up and carried back. Terrific defence from the Crusaders
meant the Rebels would have to wait a little longer for that try.
Finally, it came in the 32nd minute when the ball slipped out of
Crusaders scrum-half Mitchell Drummond's hands, with Hodge pouncing on the
loose ball and gleefully gobbling up the opportunity, making it 10-10 with
seven minutes to go before the half-time break.
Soon afterwards and just as Todd was returning from his stint in
the naughty chair, the Crusaders had another man sent to the bin when David
Havili was penalised for repeated infringements at the breakdown - this time
not rolling away. However, the defending champions showed the character of
champions to keep the Melbourne outfit at bay. Mo'unga restored the lead with a
penalty after the Crusaders completely demolished the Rebels' scrum as the
visitors took a 13-10 lead into the interval.
The Crusades have a knack of going in for the kill after
half-time and that's exactly what they did with two quickfire tries. The first
came from a cross-field kick from Ryan Crotty which was gathered by Tamanivalu,
who played the final pass on his inside for Makalio to grab his brace with an
easy run-in to the line. Mo'unga converted for a 20-13 lead.
The second came when Jack Goodhue burst over in the 51st minute
after a series of powerful carries. Scott Barrett made a lovely break and
offload in the build-up to give the defending champions the front-foot impetus
and have the Rebels defence backtracking. Mo'unga added the extras to make it
The Crusaders' bonus-point try was all thanks to Tamanivalu, who
held up play superbly, first fending off Michael Ruru and then Jack Maddocks
and managing to get the right hand free over the top for the offload to free
loose forward Samu for the score.
Just moments after, the Rebels were opened up once again when
Sam Whitelock broke two tackles straight off the restart before openside
flanker showed great support play and vision linking the play up superbly and
providing the final pass for substitute scrum-half Bryn Hall to coast in
untouched under the posts. Mo'unga's third conversion of the evening gave the
Crusaders a dominant 41-10 lead.
Most-capped Super Rugby player ever Wyatt Crockett put the
cherry on the top grabbing the first try of his swansong season as backs and
forwards combined with slick handling and intelligent movement in to space
before substitute Manasa Mataele added another with an intercept try to close
out the match 55-10.
Rebels 10 (10)
Try: Reece Hodge
Conversion: Jack Debreczeni
Crusaders 55 (10)
Tries: Seta Tamanivalu, Andrew Makalio (2), Jack Goodhue, Peter Samu, Bryn Hall, Wyatt Crockett, Manasa Mataele
Conversions: Richie Mo'unga (2), Mitch Hunt (4)
15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Substitutes: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Tom English, 23 Semisi Tupou
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele