Crusaders cruise to comfortable win against Moana Pasifika

Fri, May 19
Jack Goodhue makes a pass against Moana Pasifika.

The Crusaders have continued their late season push for a top two finish in the regular season of this year's Super Rugby Pacific competition with a comfortable win over cellar dwellers Moana Pasifika.

The defending champions, notably resting some of their key All Blacks and managing a large injury ward, posted a 41-7 win at the newly-named Go Media Stadium this evening where once they took the lead in the 10th minute, they never looked back.

Despite the new-look lineup they still delivered a classic Crusaders performance - fierce on attack and resolute on defence.

Will Jordan and Jack Goodhue continued to push their cash for All Blacks returns, leading a backline that featured notable performances from Dallas McLeod, Fergus Blake and young halfback Noah Hotham as well.

Up front, Tamaiti Williams also continued his strong form and was complimented by hooker Brodie McAlister and Corey Kellow in a rare start at No.7.

A week after losing 71-22 to the Wellington-based Hurricanes, Moana Pasifika conceded six tries in losing their last home match of the season. For the Crusaders, the win hoisted them to second place at the start of the 13th round.

Four of the Crusaders’ tries came in the first half after which they led 29-0. They managed only two tries to one in a second half which was much more evenly contested.

“Our focus was to start well, especially playing into a stiff breeze that required us forwards to set the play,” Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said. “I thought we did that quite well to start with.

“Moana showed a bit of physicality towards the end there. I’m just pleased with how this group went. There were quite a lot of young boys here and they rolled their sleeves up tonight with a lot of effort."

Levi Aumua makes a run for Moana Pasifika against the Crusaders.

The Crusaders dominated possession in the first half, especially inside the Moana Pasifika 22 and took their chances efficiently. Macca Springer scored two of their tries before halftime and Jordan scored one and had a strong hand in others.

Christian Lio-Willie scored their first try after 10 minutes, starting inside their own 22 and stringing together many passes. Jordan made an early break and handled again before the end as Goodhue and Kellow also kept the movement alive before Lio-Willie took the last pass to score.

Springer scored the first of his two tries in the 20th minute and added his second just before halftime, after Jordan had scored from a failed clearance by Moana Pasifika.

Moana Pasifika defended more effectively in the second half and the Crusaders had to go to their lineout drive to score again through McAlister.

Tima Fainga’anuku put Moana Pasifika on the board with a try in the 53rd minute but Barrett added a final try for the Crusaders who were bruised by a physical encounter.

Moana Pasifika produced some strong attacking play in the second half through players such as Levi Aumua and Timoci Tavatavanawai but weren’t able to close the gap further on the Crusaders.

Crusaders 41 (Christian Lio-Willie, Macca Springer, Will Jordan, Noah Hotham, Brodie McAlister, Scott Barrett tries; Fergus Burke 4 cons, pen)

Moana Pasifika 7 (Tima Fainga’anuku try; Christian Leali’ifano con)

HT: 29-0


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