Planet Rugby

Blues sweep past tryless Crusaders

01st March 2013 08:14

Share:

Blues v Crusaders Super Rugby Round 3 2013

On a roll: The Blues celebrate

The Blues continued their strong start to the Super Rugby season after seeing off the Crusaders 34-15 at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday.

Last season, the Blues suffered back-to-back defeats in their opening two rounds. This time though, the rejuvenated kiwi outfit have recorded two comprehensive bonus-point wins over tough opposition that keeps them top of the New Zealand conference.

It's not often that the Crusaders are kept tryless in a match, but the Blues did just that whilst showing their old foes how it's done by crossing the whitewash five times.

The Blues got off to a strong start, but it was the Crusaders who were on the scoreboard first courtesy of a Dan Carter penalty.

Five minutes later the Blues were over for the opening try of the match when impressive flank Steven Luatua powered over from close range, though Piri Weepu - who missed four shots at goal - was unable to add the extras.

This allowed the Crusaders to reclaim the lead through another Carter penalty, before the early see-saw battle continued when Weepu found his target with a three-pointer of his own that put the Blues back in front.

It didn't take long for the hosts to open the gap a wee bit further when a superb break-out from Rene Ranger led to winger Frank Halai crossing out wide.

Weepu was once again unable to raise the flags with the ensuing conversion attempt, but it didn't seem to matter when Halai was over in the same corner for his second brace in two weeks after collecting a clever chip from pivot Chris Noakes.

This time Weepu's conversion was successful, which helped the Blues to a commanding 20-6 lead.

With five minutes to go the Crusaders looked dangerously close to scoring a try, but had to settle for another two more penalties from Carter that was enough to keep them in touch with the Blues at half-time (20-12).

The Crusaders started the second half as they ended the first as Carter banged over his fifth penalty of the match in the 45th minute, and all of a sudden the visitors were a converted try away from taking the lead.

However, it would be the last points the seven-time champions would score after the Blues put the game out of sight in the last quarter of the match when flank Luke Braid and wing George Moala touched down for the home side.

First, a bloodied Braid came up with the ball after sustained pressure on the Crusaders line led to prop Charlie Faumuina falling inches short. Last year's skipper simply had to fall on the loose ball and Weepu converted.

Crusaders wing Israel Dagg then came agonisingly close to crossing the whitewash, but the TMO ruled that he had been guilty of a double movement - which certainly appeared to be the wrong call from the man upstairs.

Luckily for the Blues, the TMO didn't need to be called into play when Moala raced 60m after collecting a chip ahead from replacement pivot Baden Kerr, who also rubbed further salt into the Crusaders' wounds by adding the conversion from far out.

Game, set and match.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Luatua, Halai 2, Braid, Moala
Cons: Weepu 2, Kerr
Pen: Weepu

For Crusaders:
Pens: Carter 5

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Tom Marshall.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

By Dave Morris

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00