Crusaders lineout shuts out Reds

Whetukamokamo Douglas 1566172414

It represented an 18th consecutive win for the Crusaders, and their eighth win in succession away from home and achieved without All Blacks Sam Whitelock, Kieran Read, Codie Taylor and Ryan Crotty.

They were denied a try-scoring bonus point after replacement five-eighths Mitch Hunt left the field with what was thought to be an HIA check but it was ruled a straight injury, and Richie Mo'unga, who had gone back on as a replacement, had to leave the field with six minutes remaining.

From a lineout play straight afterwards replacement No.8 Scott Higginbotham got across on the blindside to score.

Having seen the Reds come back from a poor start, when conceding two tries in the first six minutes, the Crusaders went to the halftime break only holding a 10-7 lead.

But building steadily after the resumption, the Crusaders showed their class in waiting their moment, working their way down field and then pouncing when the chance came.

Two tries resulting from lineout mauls after penalty kicks to the corner. First, in the 48th minute, a variation saw the ball played at the front of the line and then mauled quickly to see No.8 Whetukamokamo Douglas score a deserved after an impressive display.

Then after flanker Lukhan Salakai-Loto was sin-binned, another lineout was tried, and while an initial effort was contained, a penalty from the resulting scrum saw the Crusaders reset their lineout and secure a try for replacement loosie Jordan Taufua after another driving maul.

Wing Braydon Ennor may never score an easier try than that he touched down in the sixth minute with no-one within 20m of him. It came after strong build-up work in recycling of ball by All Blacks props Owen Franks and Joe Moody and after wing George Bridge went close, the ball was moved right. With the Reds rushing in to stifle ball, centre Jack Goodhue summed up the situation to lob a chip kick across to Ennor on the right touchline and he plucked the ball down to score.

From the restart the ball was moved from the Crusaders lines immediately with second five-eighths Tim Bateman taking a gap and passing out to Goodhue. He had to reach behind him to gather the ball, but did so well and then fed inside to Jordan who raced into space, interpassed with Ennor and went across for his first Super Rugby try.

The Reds were able to stem the flow of points with some solid defence, especially when they kicked, without effect or chase, which allowed the Crusaders to run the ball back, but without the same success.

When they secured a penalty five minutes from halftime, the Reds kicked to the corner, claimed the lineout and mounted a series of drives at the line. When they achieved an advantage the ball was moved back to the blindside where home second five-eighths Samu Kerevi found the space to score.

The Reds had a try denied to flanker Liam Wright when it was ruled replacement prop JP Smith had obstructed Crusaders replacement halfback Bryn Hall in the movement.

Scorers: Reds 12 (Samu Kerevi, Scott Higginbotham tries; Bryce Hegarty con) Crusaders 22 (Braydon Ennor, Will Jordan, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Jordan Taufua tries; Richie Mo'unga con). HT: 7-10

Whetukamokamo Douglas 1566172414


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