Crusaders defeat Blues in Super Rugby Pacific battle

Canterbury Crusaders' Leicester Fainga'anuku (C) scored the decisve try in the win over the Auckland Blues

Leicester Fainga’anuku of the Canterbury Crusaders (C) scored a decisive try against the Auckland Blues.

Auckland Blues were punished for the indiscipline of captain Dalton Papali’i, as the Canterbury Crusaders dominated a Super Rugby Pacific matchup 15-3 on Saturday in Christchurch.

The Blues were also defeated in the final last year. This was a tense match, compared to the 34-28 win in round three.

The Crusaders, who led 10-3 at the break, took the lead soon after when All Blacks flanker Papali’i got a yellow card on his side for a late high tackle. New Zealand team-mate, fly-half Richie Mo’unga.

Leicester Fainga’anuku, winger for the Crusaders, crossed the ball in the left-corner from the same play.

The television match official upgraded Papali’i’s offense to a redcard and his undermanned team barely threatened the rest of the game.

The Blues and Crusaders are both in contention for the finals next month.

Scott Robertson of the Crusaders was pleased to limit opponents with All Blacks to three points, which is equal to the lowest score in Blues history.

Robertson explained that winning was the result of Robertson’s many carries of the ball.

“We didn’t do much defense, but we did want them to tackle. And they did.”

Beauden Barrett, Blues’ fly-half, admitted that the hosts were more clinical.

They took their chances, but there weren’t too many in the game.

“We saw some opportunities in the second halves, but we were not good enough to complete,” said the All Blacks’ Test playmaker.

Joe Moody, the Test prop who was injured in the ankle test, left the match early. This is of concern to the Crusaders & All Blacks.

Moody has been plagued by injuries ever since the World Cup of 2019.

After rupturing his knee ligaments, he was unable add to the 57 tests he had completed last year.

George Bower and Fletcher Newell, two more Test props of the Crusaders, have been injured to the point that their season is over.

Fainga’anuku boosted his Test claim with a powerful display.

After his 50th match with the Crusaders his try total for the season is 10. He’s now tied for first place with Chiefs speedster Shaun Stevenson.

Wellington Hurricanes is second following an 11-try romp at home in a 71-22 win over Moana Pasifika.


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