June 18, 2022
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Reece scores as Crusaders win 13th title

Fijian flyer Sevu Reece scored a try to secure the Crusaders their 13th Super Rugby title after beating the Blues 21-7 at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Crusaders went offensive after receiving the kick-off with openside winger Leicester Fainga'anuku going for a break, but the Blues defense tumbled him into touch just minutes in.

Crusaders continued to hammer on, but their speed of attack was met with defence just as determined with near 10 minutes gone.

Continued pressure paid off for the visitors with flyhalf Ritchie Mo'unga nailing a drop goal from 30 metres out in the midfield in the 14th minute.

The Crusadwers stole a Blues throw three minutes later, and quick work from inside centre David Havili sent Fainga'anuku crashing over the tryline, only to be held up over the goal line.

The Blues attacked a couple of minutes later through flyhalf Beauden Barrett who put a long kick down field for his speedy wingers to chase but Reece got to the ball first and kicked it into touch.

The Blues seem to be disheveled early, and a number of chances went begging.

The Crusaders turned again to go downfield, and after Reece got hit in the air, they went back to the penalty with Mo'unga extending the lead to six points from 40 metres out to the left with 10 minutes left in the first half.

The Crusaders had the final say of the first half on the buzzer, and with it the first try of the game.

They worked their way to within 10 metres of the tryline and keeping composed with a few more stand offs, had halfback Bryn Hall pick and dot the ball for the five pointer.

Mo'unga converted to send the teams to the break with the South Islanders in front 13-0.

The Crusaders extended their lead six minutes into the second half with another penalty from Mo'unga.

The Blues got a try in the 60th minute through halfback Finlay Christie and fullback Stephen Perofeta converted to keep them in the match.

Mounga attempted to kick his third penalty from 40 meters out in midfield but it drifted away in the 67th minute.

The Blues had another chance as the visitors spilled the ball from their own lineout just 30 metres from the tryline.

A.J Lam flew into the line but the Crusaders defence was too good and they stole it with a penalty with 74 minutes elapsed on the clock.

The Crusaders sealed the deal disrupting the Blues lineout and Argentina import Pabelo Matera hoofed the ball downfield and a mixup from substitute Sam Nock saw Reece pounce to score with Mo'unga missing the conversion three minutes from the fulltime whistle.

The teams:

Blues: Stephen Perofeta, A.J. Lam, Rieko Ioane, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Mark Telea, Beauden Barrett, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Adrian Choat, Akira Ioane, Tom Robinson, Josh Goodhue, Nepo Laulala, Kurt Eklund, Alex Hodgman, Soane Vikena, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Luke Romano, Dalton Papalii/James Tucker, Sam Nock, Bryce Heem, Zarn Sullivan.

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Oli Jager, Codie Taylor, George Bower, Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Quenten Strange, Corey Kellow, Mitch Drummond, Braydon Ennor, George Bridge.

By Noa Biudole


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