By: Benedict Chanakira
Crusaders 35 Hurricanes 18
To be fair this was a sloppy game which had moments of brilliance in patches. The game started quite quickly though, Havili having had y opportunity to create quite an overlap had he passed instead deciding to hold onto the ball. The first chance quashed. The Hurricane line out was atrocious and this cost them badly in the game. A win would have sealed the top spot with three games to go. The champions elect fell to only their second loss of the season.
The Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo was in terrifying form and managed to get a try and create a few. Nadolo was breaking tackles and played an important part which saw Drummond, Tuitavake and Todd add to the five pointers. Daniel Carter managed to get his kicking and distribution game at its best and the Crusaders held a 16-8 lead at the break. Robbie Fruean was sin binned for a powerful hit on Nehe Milner-Skudder. DanColes managed to capitalise on the yellow. Though the referee managed to get this one wrong it had no difference in the long run.
After the break the Hurricanes came out to score a breath taking try as they simply dazzled the Crusaders. Nehe Miner Skudder managed to finish off the move by releasing Ardie Save a who brought the score to 16-15 in favor of the Crusaders. Unfortunately this did not help turn the clash around as the Crusaders managed to seal of the game with three more tries.
One moment that left the Hurricanes fans puzzled could have been Ma’am Nonu trying to shield the ball over the try line instead of playing it. The Crusaders hopes of a play off still alive as they hope for several results To go their way.
Crusaders 35-18 Hurricanes
Crusaders : Tries – Drummond, Tuitavake, Todd, Nadolo. Conversions – 3/4 Carter. Penalties – 3/3
Hurricanes : Tries – Coles, A. Savea. Conversions – 1/2 Black. Penalties 2/2
Brumbies 22 Bulls 16
The Blue Bulls will need a miracle to make the play offs and will have their breakdown woes, failure to front up in the forwarcs and a long list of grievances to blame for the loss. The Bulls started well and held a 6-0 lead and Christian Lealifano had issues with his radar. When Lealifano found his range he managed it make it 6-3. Some patient build up saw Jordan Smiler go over in the corner to take the lead to 8-6 for the Brumbies.
After the break a Pollard penalty saw the Blue Bulls regain the lead but that was the last of it. Henry Speight broke the line and raced away unscathed after the Bulls midfield failed to cope with him. He managed to grab a second a few minutes later to take the score to 22-9 to the Brumbies with about 20 minutes to go.
While a late Labuschagne try gave the bulls some hope to win the game their efforts failed. The Brumbies defence managed to hold on as they quanched the late Bulls surge including some well executed maul stops. The Bulls will now look to salvage some pride in the games to follow.
Brumbies 22-16 Blue Bulls
Scorers: Brumbies – Tries: Smiler, Speight (2) Conversions- 2/3. Penalties 1/3.
Bulls- Try: Labuschagne. Conversion: Pollard- 1/1. Penalties: 3/3.