Crusaders step up pace for opening win

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Neither side fielded their All Blacks and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said he was pleased with the way the less experienced members of his squad performed to put pressure on the senior players.


The Hurricanes got out to a 12-0 lead in the first 11 minutes but the Crusaders (pictured Fasi Fuatai and Tom Christie) responded with four unanswered tries.


Both sides suffered injuries, the Crusaders losing halfback Mitch Drummond with a head knock while Hurricanes wing Jonah Lowe suffered a shoulder injury.


Hurricanes coach Jason Holland said his side would need to work on their forward effort.



"We need to be more efficient around our carry and our cleanout and our breakdown.


"That's a big area around us getting momentum and being able to play. [The] Crusaders slowed our ball down a lot today. That's a little bit around our attacking shape and what we do there and just around a bit of mongrel at the breakdown," he said.


In South Africa, the Stormers were beaten 13-3 by the Southern Kings in a rain-affected warm-up game in Knysa. The only Stormers points were from a penalty goal landed by first five-eighths Jean-Luc du Plessis.



The Stormers will play the Sharks on Sunday. The Sharks warmed up for that game by beating Russia for the second time in a week 45-21 in Durban on Friday.


Meanwhile, the Stormers confirmed the signing of former Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts. He will join the side ahead of the Super Rugby campaign which starts against the Hurricanes in Cape Town on February 1.


Roberts said in a statement, "It has long been a goal of mine to play in the southern hemisphere and I cannot think of a better place to do so than in the Western Cape, where people are so passionate about their rugby and also staying in Cape Town which is such an amazing city."



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