Cape Town - The Crusaders confirmed a Super Rugby final against the
Jaguares with a 30-26 victory in a bruising cliffhanger semi-final
against the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Saturday.
As it happened: Crusaders v Hurricanes
It extended the nine-time champion Crusaders' unbeaten home record to
30 although twice in the second half the Hurricanes closed within one
point and threatened a boilover.
The Jaguares had earlier qualified for the final for the first time when they swamped the Brumbies 39-7 in Buenos Aires.
The Crusaders led 13-0 after 39 minutes before a dramatic turn in the
game when the Hurricanes dropped their kicking plan and took to running
They scored just on half-time and immediately after the resumption to close within one point.
But every time they touched down the Crusaders responded and opened up a four-point gap at the end with a Richie Mo'unga penalty.
"Both teams really deserved to win that," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said.
"It had Test match intensity."
Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock was concerned with how many of his side would be available for next week's final.
"There are some sore bodies, guys already have ice and some with slings," he said.
Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles said his side fought hard.
"In the first half they started really well but we absorbed the pressure and started really well in the second half."
In the crucial battle of the flyhalves, it was Mo'unga who
controlled the game in the first half with his options of whether to run
Beauden Barrett's kicking game was erratic at first but when he
adopted a running game after the break it snapped the Hurricanes into
From being guilty of kicking away too much possession which the
Crusaders were only too happy to run back at them in the first half, the
Hurricanes ran hard in the second and stretched the Crusaders defence.
The Crusaders were first on the board with a Mo'unga penalty before
Sevu Reece scored the opening try after George Bridge won possession in
an aerial contest with Jonah Lowe.
In the shadow of half-time the Hurricanes made a sustained attack
with the ball, ignited by a 40-metre run from Jordie Barrett, which
ended with the powerful Ngani Laumape forcing his way over the line.
The Hurricanes made an explosive start to the second half with a Matt Proctor break sending Ben Lam over in the corner.
From the restart the Crusaders struck back immediately when a wayward
Hurricanes clearing kick saw Mo'unga mount a counter-attack which he
was on hand to finish and convert.
The Hurricanes wasted no time with their reply when Laumape kicked a
loose ball into open territory and was quick enough to recover
possession and score.
When Reece scored his second try the Hurricanes responded with a try
to TJ Perenara to lock the score at 27-26 before Mo'unga's final
As the top side in the regular season the Crusaders, who are the
defending champions, will host the final against the Jaguares next
Tries: Sevu Reece (2), Richie Mo'unga
Conversions: Mo'unga (3)
Penalties: Mo'unga (3)
Tries: Ngani Laumape (2), Ben Lam, TJ Perenara
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3)
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Peter Umaga-Jensen