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Crusaders fall again; Blues beat Highlanders

Updated: May 20

The Blues continue to rise in Super Rugby Pacific while the Crusaders continue with their fall after another winnable game became a loss.

A second half scoring spree helped the Blues to a 47-13 win over the Highlanders at Eden Park and to a three point advantage at the top of the points ladder.


The Blues are on 50 points, with the Hurricanes 47. The Brumbies are next on 43 and the Chiefs 42.

The Blues scored seven tries in total, three in first half where the score was 21-13 at the break and then another four in the second spell.

Hooker Kurt Eklund crossed in both the first and second halves, while another Ofa Tu'ungafasi was the first to score in the match after just four minutes.

Timoci Tavatavanawai replied for the visitors a few minutes later. and his teams solitary try.

However, his team fell away and were bulled by the Blues as Kade Banks scoring on debut, while Taufa Funaki and Caleb Clarke also added to the score.

Meanwhile in Canberra, the ACT Brumbies secured a Super Rugby home playoff match after a last-minute penalty try ensured a gutsy 31-24 win over the Crusaders.

The game seemed set to end level until Quinten Strange conceded a penalty try in the last minute. The Crusaders lock intentionally knocked back a loose ball after Noah Lolesio's side-line penalty goal attempt struck the upright.

It was the first win against the Crusaders for 15 years.


The Brumbies had to defend against a determined Crusaders attack, which dominated territory for large stretches of the match. 

The Brumbies had a 10-point buffer coming out from halftime but a Noah Hotham try with 12 minutes left and a penalty kick from Chay Fihaki let the visitors level the scores.

Another loss for the Crusaders and another win for the Blues in Super Rugby
The Crusaders lost to the ACT Brumbies, while the Blues continued their winning run in Super Rugby Pacific. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

It was an all-too-familiar feeling for the Crusaders, who have looked competitive throughout the season but remain second-bottom after just two wins.

The Brumbies took the ascendancy after a forward pass denied Sevuloni Reece an early opening try for the Crusaders. 

The home side's dominant forward pack picked and drove their way irresistibly towards the tryline before Noah Lolesio lifted his head and found Andy Muirhead all alone on the right wing with a cross-field bomb to open the scoring.

Soon after Brumbies fullback Tom Wright found himself one-on-one with Crusaders five-eighth Fergus Burke, who he left in his wake with a disdainful don't argue on his way to the tryline.

But the Crusaders got themselves back into the game after Tamati Tua was sent to the bin for a high shot on Jone Rova. 

Crusaders fullback Johnny McNicholl made the most of the numerical advantage to get his side on the board with an overload on the left flank.

Wright scored his second of the night before Reece caught the Brumbies defence napping to scamper through for the first try after the break.

No 8 Rob Valetini went over in the second half to extend the Brumbies lead before the chaotic finish.

Blues 47 (Kurt Eklund 2, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Cole Forbes, Kade Banks, Taufa Funaki, Caleb Clarke tries; Harry Plummer 6 con) Highlanders 13 (Timoci Tavatavanawai try; Cameron Millar con, 2 pen). HT: 21-13

ACT Brumbies 31 (Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright 2, Rob Valetini tries, penalty try; Noah Lolesio 2 con) Crusaders 24 (Johnny McNicholl, Sevu Reece, Noah Hotham tries; Fergus Burke 3 con, Chay Fihaki pen). HT: 17-7


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