This article originally appeared stuff.co.nz And reproduced with permission
It can be as beautiful as an overflowing ashtray.
Instead, the Crusaders delivered a large bouquet to their hard-core fans, who dared Christchurch’s cool breeze to watch their team score nine points during Friday night’s 61-3 victory over Fijian Druer at Orange Theory Stadium.
Often, when a powerhouse franchise like the Crusaders sends an underage side against a fighting outfit like Super Rugby Pacific’s Drew, you take a deep breath and mutter to yourself about finding a golden nugget in a pile of compost.
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Because how many times have we seen a top team fail to make a clinical performance in a game they should win at Cantor, especially when they leave a bunch of their best players at the grandstand?
Coach Scott Robertson chose Pablo Matera, David Haveli, Will Jordan, Richie Munga to rest while Cody Taylor was treating injured ribs.
But it was not. It was a massively entertaining performance and deserved praise.
Captain Scott Barrett is transferred to Blindside Flanker, allowing Jack Gallagher to start with Sam Whitelock in the second row, and Ethan Blacader moves to No. 8, where he joins openside Flanker Tom Christie, a high tackle count.
As the Crusaders continued to heat up on the Druids, who struggled to get any dividends from their kicking tactics in the general game, they picked up plenty of free-flowing footy.
It started with leftist Leicester Fingananuku, who jumped on the attack with strength and balance and deserved a few extra ticks next to his name in the selection of the All Blacks, he provided a hungry starter while scoring in the left pocket. In the opening minutes.
The Crusaders’ set pieces were efficient, their shaky defenses were enthusiastic and to everyone’s delight, experienced Lock Whitelock ran a line reaper to make a subtle attempt.
Fergus Burke, in the first five-eighth place at Munger, succeeded in eight conversion attempts out of nine, and midfielder Braden Ener survived a header in a tackle with Celestino Ravutumada a few minutes later.
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Inevitably, that incident resulted in a yellow card; One wonders if this was the right call – and given the current confusion surrounding these clashes – the Crusaders continued to press against 14 people in the last 10 minutes.
Christie was by Chuck’s side, and very few could argue that she wasn’t worthy of being talked about in her post-game Ginger Beer.
It was the final five pointers of the night. An excellent way to drop screens.
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