Planet Rugby

Crusaders exploit sloppy Reds

11th May 2014 08:47

Share:

An excellent second-half performance saw the Crusaders humble the Reds with a 57-29 victory at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

In a spectacular 20-minute turnaround after the break the Crusaders scored four tries, capitalising on some appalling kicking from Quade Cooper and the Reds for three of their scores.

The second half turnaround made the Crusaders the first New Zealand team to win at Suncorp since 2009, scoring 50 points on Australian soil for the first time.

Struggling with their form coming into the fixture the Reds' prospects looked ominous after Nemani Nadolo's try in the first ten minutes, but they responded well to the early deficit.

Todd Blackadder's team had rebounded from a rocky start to the competition to win their last four matches, and this was a true test of their credentials - one which they comfortably answered in the second half.

The Reds wall initially held firm and it took a special pass around the back from Colin Slade to suck in two defenders, making the space for Luke Whitelock to breakthrough before Nadolo finished things off.

Ill-discipline though was a problem for 'Saders and they paid the price for successive penalties with the sin-binning of Andy Ellis, referee Jaco Peyper setting out his stall early on.

The Reds rejected the opportunity to go for goal on two occasions in the 22 and came away with nothing, Slade knocking over another three points up the other end for a 10-3 lead.

Jamie-Jerry Taulagi hit back for his first Super Rugby try with a good finish in the corner - an inside ball from the lineout sucking the Crusaders defence inside before Cooper and Harris created the space for the 20-year-old to strike.

Thriving off the momentum the Reds struck again. Good work from Ben Daley turned over possession and Dom Shipperley came off his wing, floating deep behind Cooper and running onto a short pass to go over untouched.

A leaky scrum however was a hinderance for the hosts. Greg Holmes struggled against Wyatt Crockett and resultant penalties helped cut the gap to 17-16 by half-time.

The Crusaders then absolutely flew out of the gate. First, Crockett backed himself by tapping a penalty five metres out and driving low for the line for their second try, after some brilliant, patient build-up in attack.

With the Reds persistently kicking ball away but not chasing hard enough to put pressure on the visitors, the next play felt inevitable.

Israel Dagg had time and chipped over the defensive line, Johnny McNicholl gathering and cutting inside before applying the afterburners. From 17-16 to 17-30 in a matter of minutes, the Reds were stunned.

Cooper clearly didn't learn this lesson, because another shocking kick resulted in the bonus point try for the Crusaders.

It was déjà vu as Slade's high kick was tapped down into the hands of Luke Whitelock, with the number eight speeding away to score and bring up 40 points with Slade's conversion.

RIchard Graham must have been tearing his hair out by the time Nadolo had run in his second try.

Once again Cooper kicked aimlessly and the Crusaders executed, McNicholl running into space down the touchline and combining with Slade to release Nadolo for his double. The fly-half was also putting on a kicking exhibition.

Rod Davies ran in a try to give the Reds an inkling of hope, but they still trailed by 25 points at 22-47.

Slade's tenth kick of the night brought up the half century for the Crusaders in a sublime performance from the number ten.

Despite their defence resembling a turnstile the Reds did secure a try bonus point when Rob Simmons dotted down in the 73rd minute, latching onto the bouncing ball following Cooper's cross-field kick.

There was still time for McNicholl to bag his second try, intercepting a loose pass from Cooper and kicking ahead with easily enough pace to finish it off ahead of a despairing chase from the Reds.

It wrapped up the highest-scoring game ever at Suncorp on another miserable night for Queensland, whose season is well and truly over.

The Crusaders on the other hand look like title contenders, romping to their fifth consecutive win in ruthless style.

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Taulagi, Shipperley, Davies, Simmons
Cons: Cooper 3
Pen: Cooper

For Crusaders:
Tries: Nadolo 2, Crockett, McNicholl 2, L Whitelock
Cons: Slade 6
Pens: Slade 5
Yellow Card: Ellis

Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Dave McDuling, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Rod Davies.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 George Whitelock, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411