Recap: Blues heap more misery on Crusaders at Eden Park

The Crusaders’ dramatic fall from grace continued at Eden Park on Saturday night.

Sporting their heritage jerseys, the Crusaders looked nothing like the dominant sides of the past, failing to cross the Blues line in a listless display from the defending champions as they went down 26-6 in Auckland.

The Blues meanwhile celebrated skipper Patrick Tuipolotu’s return back from injury and 100th cap in slightly sloppy, but ultimately winning style.

Up by just 9-6 at halftime, a pulsating period right after the break saw the Blues blow their rivals away with two quick tries.

The win puts the Blues one point shy of the Chiefs in second spot, while the Crusaders sink to the bottom of the Super Rugby Pacific table.

A shower fell over Auckland right on kickoff, as Macca Springer was off early for a head injury assessment and Stephen Perofeta put first points on the board through the boot.

Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu made his 100th appearance for the franchise.

The Crusaders signalled their attacking intent, turing down three kickable penalties for three lineout mauls on the trot, none of which made any real inroads.

Despite Dalton Papali’i being sent to the bin, the visitors still could not cash in, a knock on handing the Blues a huge reprieve.

The Crusaders continued to commit errors and eventually opted for the posts, Riley Hohepa putting his side on the board after 20 minutes.

Having spent an age on defence, the Blues’ first venture back into the Crusaders’ 22 almost brought the game’s first try, Ricky Riccitelli knocking on as his side mauled him over the line.

The Blues would push ahead, Perofeta nailing a long range penalty, but Hopeha responded in kind right on the break, as Zarn Sullivan hobbled off the pitch.

His replacement Cole Forbes made an immediate impact with a slicing run, the attack again ending with a handling error but under advantage, the Blues would take the three and a 9-6 lead after a dire first 40.

The second started with some excitement however, Perofeta slicing through to set the Blues on attack, Ofa Tu’ungafasi barging his way over for the game’s opening try.

It seemed to click the Blues into gear, with AJ Lam scoring a second just two minutes later, as Forbes broke through the line.

Things got worse for the Crusaders, losing Sevu Recce for ten minutes, while Perofeta extended the lead by another three.

They looked to have bounced back as the Blues bumbled the restart and Levi Aumua went in, but Caleb Clarke’s tackle on the big centre knocked the ball free to the despair of Crusaders’ fans.

The Blues kept cutting the Crusaders’ defence to ribbons but the final execution was hurting them.

With the siren sounded, Mark Tele’a had the bonus point try slip from his fingers in what summed up the scrappy affair.


Blues 26 (Tu’ungafasi, Lam, tries, Perofeta 2 cons, 4 pens)

Crusaders 6 (Hohepa 2 pens)

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button