The Brumbeys were slapped with a reality check as the Crusaders ended a three-game winning streak against a Kiwi opponent in Canberra on Friday night.
Tom Wright’s great intercept attempt – where he turned Richie Munga inwards on the way to the line – was a bit too late for Brumbis but the Crusaders were always in control of the clash between the two and three teams on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder.
The 37-26 win raised the Crusaders’ level to 43 points with Brumbis, just behind the Blues (45) who could extend their lead against the Reds in Auckland on Saturday night.
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Wright turns the Crusaders inside out
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson conceded that the recent defeats at the Blues and Waratah had a point to prove to him that sparked speculation about whether their championship power could be reduced.
“There wasn’t a dead set title fight,” Robertson told Stan Sport. “Super Rugby is his best.”
On a night full of milestones, Crusader winger Sevu Rees, the fastest player in super rugby, scored 40 tri, in his 50th game to shadow Brumbe legend Joe Ruff (53).
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Gun five-eighth Richie Munga then became the eighth player to score 1000 Super Rugby points, achieving the mark a week after Christian Liali’Fano’s memorable evening.
And fullback Will Jordan continues his remarkable record against the Australian team, walking in his 14th attempt in 11 trans-Tasman games.
“In the end we loved the heart but we made a lot of mistakes,” said Brumbis captain Alan Alalatoa.
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“It’s a huge lesson for us and I think we’ll get better at it. It’s just my personal fault.”
Crusader Flanker Pablo Matera was Man of the Match for a generally tough performance and, unfortunately, is now being seen too much at home in his new club.
Brumbis started scoring and tried to center the controversial Ira Simon, who was able to ground the ball clean enough to satisfy the officials.
Shawn Maloney and Andrew Mehertens review the latest round of Super Rugby Pacific, the first Wallaros game in almost three years, and talk to Noah Lolesio after his thrilling re-signing with Australian Rugby.
But injured stars Rob Valetini and Noah Lolesio were very much missed by the Brumbeys now near full strength against the Crusaders.
Lolesio’s replacement, Rod Iona, was charged with an early kick that caused Hooker Cody Taylor to start scoring for the spectators.
This lowered Iona’s confidence in the fifth-eighth place and the Crusaders took control to lead 23-5 at halftime.
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