Friday, September 22, 2023
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Crusaders prove too strong for Drua

Eleven time Super Rugby Pacific champions, the Crusaders dominated the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua 49-8 to advance to the semifinals at Orangetheory Stadium today.

A determined Drua outfit, in only their second season had a first class seat and taste of finals rugby at the hands of the title holders.

Early jitters for the Fijian Drua allowed the Crusaders to strike first with two tries in five minutes.

Front row pair Oliver Jager and Codie Taylor got a try each with Ritchie Mo’unga making no mistake with both conversions.

The Crusaders fast tempo play and physicality from the forwards had the visitors back tracking early on.

Taylor scored his second try in the 14th minute.

The Drua pressed hard into the Saders half and into the opposition 22 metre for the first time in the game, they won the penalty with Frank Lomani converting in the 25th minute for their first points of the game.

Hard work again from the Crusaders forwards had blindside flanker Sione Havili-Talitui over with Mo’unga adding two more.

The home side looked set to breakaway for another try when Drua flyer Selestino Ravutaumada read the play to intercept and race away for their first try of the match however the conversion was away from Lomani.

The hosts led 28-8 at halftime.

The scoreline did not tell the ferocity of the challenge with Drua sending in replacement prop Meli Tuni and Saders reserve flanker Ethan Blackadder only to play five minutes with fellow reserve Zack Gallagher before both being sent off.

After more pressure Crusaders fullback Will Jordan soon added his name to the score tally with Mo’unga converting in the 68th minute.

Mo’unga did not finish the game and limped off after a heavy tackle.

Saders halfback and Englishman Willie Heinz scored their seventh try of the match in the 78th minutes with the conversion unsuccessful.

They held on to win 49-8.

The teams:

Crusaders: Tamaiti Williams, Codie Taylor, Oliver Jager, Scott Barrett (c), Quinten Strange, Sione Havili Talitui, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor, Dallas McLeod, Will Jordan.

Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Reuben O’Neill, Zack Gallagher, Ethan Blackadder, Willi Heinz, Fergus Burke, Chay Fihaki.

Fijian Drua: Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahirwau Cirikidaveta, Vilive Miramira, Motikiai Murray, Meli Derenalagi (c), Frank Lomani, Caleb Muntz, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Teti Tela, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese.

Reserves: Zuriel Togiatama, Meli Tuni, Samuela Tawake, Etonia Waqa, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Michael Naitokani, Eroni Sau.


Noa Biudole
Noa Biudole
Journalist |


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