Injuries hit Crusaders as Lions showdown looms

    2018-07-29 14:52

    Christchurch - The Crusaders will be without bruising flank Jordan Taufua for next weekend's Super Rugby final against the Lions after he suffered a broken arm against the Hurricanes.

    Coach Scott Robertson also faced a question mark over backline leader Ryan Crotty and was grappling with a dwindling stock of hookers as he began on Sunday to prepare for the showdown in Christchurch.

    Injuries aside, Robertson viewed Saturday's semi-final victory over the Hurricanes as a sign his defending champions were tracking well to claim a ninth title, with discipline, defence and the skills of flyhalf Richie Mo'unga working as planned.

    "We wanted to be really clean and I think we gave four penalties away for the whole game and that's way below average," he said.

    "We defended amazingly and its given us a chance of one more week, and Richie's controlling everything. He's got time, he's brave and made some big tackles."

    After the Crusaders cruised to a 30-12 semi-final victory, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd pointed to the strength of their powerful forward pack.

    "They just keep putting that pressure on the supply of ball and we had trouble at times at the scrum, we had trouble at times at the lineout, we had trouble at times in the breakdown," he said.

    "We couldn't get any go forward to get ourselves rolling."

    Even with the loss of Taufua, Robertson has Wallaby international Pete Samu to call on for the starting pack to join seven All Blacks.

    Taufua is an All Black in name only. After being selected to play France in the June Tests, he was sidelined by a calf injury in training.

    Crotty left the field after a blow to the head and will be monitored in the coming days, while replacement hooker Seb Siataga suffered a broken arm to become the third Crusaders rake to be sidelined by injury this year.

    Apart from the venue, next Saturday's final will be a repeat of last year's showdown when the Crusaders beat the Lions 25-17 in Johannesburg to claim their eighth Super crown.

    The South Africans, who downed the Waratahs 44-26 in their semi-final, go into their third consecutive final without having won the southern hemisphere championship.

    Their forwards looked impressive against the Australians with two tries to hooker Malcolm Marx from driving mauls, and when they played wide, wing Aphiwe Dyantyi produced a long-range touchdown.

    "Their strengths are the reason they have got to the final," Robertson noted.

    "Their ability to maul, and they have got incredible guys who can turn a ball over in Kwagga (Smith) and Malcolm Marx. They are just an abrasive, big pack.

    "They have been hurt a couple of times in finals," Robertson added.

    "We know what happened last year with the red card, the controversy and we held on in the end there."

    In last year's final, the Crusaders led 25-3 at half-time only for the Lions to come back with 14 unanswered points in the second half despite being a man down, with Smith red carded just before the break.

    Read More On:  lions crusaders super rugby rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    04 August 2018
    28 July 2018
    21 July 2018
    20 July 2018
    14 July 2018
    13 July 2018
    07 July 2018
    06 July 2018
    30 June 2018
    29 June 2018
    03 June 2018
    02 June 2018
    01 June 2018
    26 May 2018
    25 May 2018
    19 May 2018
    18 May 2018
    12 May 2018
    11 May 2018
    05 May 2018
    04 May 2018
    28 April 2018
    27 April 2018
    22 April 2018
    21 April 2018
    20 April 2018
    14 April 2018
    13 April 2018
    07 April 2018
    06 April 2018
    01 April 2018
    31 March 2018
    30 March 2018
    24 March 2018
    23 March 2018
    18 March 2018
    17 March 2018
    16 March 2018
    10 March 2018
    09 March 2018
    03 March 2018
    02 March 2018
    24 February 2018
    23 February 2018
    17 February 2018


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Lions (Q)
    • Jaguares (wc)
    • Sharks (wc)
    • Stormers
    • Bulls

    Opinion Poll

    Who will win the 2018 Rugby Championships?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

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