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Crusaders beaten by Reds, Highlanders win

The Reds have finally beaten the Crusaders in New Zealand after nearly a quarter of a decade
What it means to beat the Crusaders in New Zealand after 25 years PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC

The Highlanders have jumped up the Super Rugby points ladder with their fourth, but the Crusaders have fallen short and lost at home against the Reds,


It was the first time in 25 years the Queensland side had beaten their opponents in New Zealand


The Reds beat the Crusaders 33-28 with determined defence to hold on to what looked set to be another gutting near miss.


It was the Reds' first win in the city since Tim Horan, Ben Tune, Toutai Kefu, Daniel Herbert and Nathan Sharpe wore the jersey in 1999 - and just the Crusaders' second loss to an Australian side in Christchurch since 2004.


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The visitors played brilliant rugby to add to their Highlanders and Chiefs triumphs, Tim Ryan's double making it five tries in two Super Rugby Pacific starts for the 20-year-old, and unheralded No.10 Lawson Creighton's kicking game superb.


Back from a two-game suspension, flanker McReight showed his class at the breakdown, while backrow partners Liam Wright and Harry Wilson made ground.


Victory made it three wins against New Zealand sides this year for the Reds, their only trans-Tasman losses coming via after-the-siren tries to the Hurricanes and Blues.


The five-tries-to-four win improved them to 5-5 and put them on the doorstep of the top four.

The Crusaders, who have shown vast improvement since an 0-5 start, dropped to 2-8 and lost captain and All Blacks star Scott Barrett to an injury after only 14 minutes.


After eight penalties in the first 16 minutes, it was the Reds who opened the scoring through McReight, with fullback Jock Campbell's clean break setting the platform.


Four early kicks in behind the Crusaders defence amounted to nothing initially, but eventually created the space for Josh Flook to break down the left wing. 


Campbell was involved again as winger Ryan finished an 80-metre special.


Dallas McLeod got the hosts on the board in the 38th minute but the Reds regained control when prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen scored from a line-out turnover to begin the second half.


The Crusaders scored the next two, Quinten Strange's try to level the scores controversially upheld when replays were unable to say conclusively the ball had been held up.

Harry Wilson then did it himself, charging down an exit kick and regathering to score a try that stunted the comeback.


Ryan earned another when he sped onto Campbell's chip kick, and when Ryan Smith forced a turnover with a defensive play which had the Reds looking good.


But Ryan gave away a lineball offensive penalty with the Reds in prime position and Sevu Reece raced off for his 100th first-class try.


But the home side couldn't turn one more attack in to points and the scored remained 33-28


Meanwhile in Tonga two tries to fullback Jacob Ratumaivuki-Kneepkens helped the Highlanders beat the home team and the tough conditions too for a 28-17 win in Nuku'alofa.

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First-five Cam Millar was a key to the Highlanders success with three penalties in the second half and some controlling play.


The result was the first back-to-back wins of the season for the Highlanders ,


Moana Pasifika prop Abraham Pole next up, charged over to score in the fifth minute, but

Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens capitised on a handling error to score a few minutes later for the visitors.


Fullback William Havilli gained a try in the 27th minute and kicked a penalty before halftime, however the Highlanders hit back, when Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens put wing Connor Garden-Bachop over in the corner and Millar converted and then Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens crossed himself.


At 19-17 ahead starting the second half the Highlanders added a penalty but lost Garden-Bachop, when he chased another chip ahead by Millar, sliding to secure the ball, but colliding heavily with a defender in the process.


Millar scored again with another penalty, putting them beyond reach of a converted try and despite a couple more chance the scored remained 28-17.


The Highlanders host the Crusaders next Saturday evening.


Reds 33 (Fraser McReight try, Tim Ryan 2 tries, Jeff Toomaga-Allen try, Harry Wilson try Harry Wilson Creighton 4 con) Crusaders 28 (Dallas McLeod, Corey Kellow, Quinten Strange, Sevu Reece tries Leigh Halfpenny con, Chay Fihaki 2 con) HT: 14-7'


Nuku’alofa: Highlanders 28 (Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens 2 tries, Connor Garden-Bachop try Cameron Millar 2 con, 3 pen) Moana Pasifika 17 (Abraham Pole, William Havili tries; Havili con, pen). HT: 19-17.





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