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
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand15:00
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615