As expected the Crusaders advanced to the semi finals when they beat the Highlanders on Friday 38-14.

Although the Highlanders put up a great contest in the first half they lost the game early in the second when Squire was yellow carded for a shoulder tackle.

This turned the game and the Highlanders could never come back after the champions scored two tries in that period.

From the kickoff the Crusaders stayed in the Highlanders half and forced a penalty which was kicked over for the early lead of 3-0.

The Highlanders fond their way over the line and the try was awarded but referee went upstairs to the TMO. From a few looks it was decided it was a double movement and the try was overturned.

The Highlanders had an opportunity to even things out but the penalty hit the upright with the Crusaders exiting their twenty two.

From a great lineout the Highlanders worked through the forwards and quickly spread the ball out wide with Smith that delivered the perfect pass to Sio Tomkinson getting over in the corner.

This gave the visitors a 7-3 lead.

The Crusaders hit back with Havili who was at the end of a brilliant pass to get over under the sticks for the lead of 10-7 after 23 minutes.

The Crusaders started to show more composer on attack and playing in the right side of the field as well. It was starting to look that they were getting control.

The Crusaders were so dangerous on attack with brilliant hands and speed to beat the Highlanders defence. This made their second try look so easy when Mo’unga got over.

The Highlanders was putting huge pressure on the Crusaders playing in their twenty two. This saw Teihorangi Walden bashing over for their second try of the match and reducing the lead.

The home side had one more chance to score points before the end of the half but lost their lineout and went into the break with a 17-14 lead.

The Crusaders had another opportunity with an attacking lineout but lost another one to go into the break in the lead with 17-14.

The second half did not start well for the visitors when Squire was send off with a yellow card for a shoulder tackle.

This open up for Crusaders and they scored two tries in the time Squire was off to extend their lead to 31-14 after 57 minutes into the game.

The left the Highlanders with plenty to catchup if they wanted to win the game.

The Crusaders just kept the pressure on the Highlanders pinning them in their own half with some brilliant interplay.

Richie Mo’unga was at the end of a brilliant kick ahead to get another for the home side.

This took the Crusaders lead to 38-17 with 10 to go.



Crusaders Crusaders  38 14  Highlanders Highlanders

Crusaders: Tries – David Havili, Richie Mo”unga(2), Whetu Douglas, Michael Alaalatoa Conversions – Richie Mo”unga(5) Penalties: Richie Mo”unga

Highlanders: Tries – Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden Conversions – Josh Ioane(2)

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