On a cold and misty night in Christchurch; the Crusaders managed to maintain their unbeaten run by winning a scrappy game against the Hurricanes.
Ending 20-12, just a single try was scored in a match that went well against the script of almost every prediction. The Hurricanes were poor, well below the level of what was expected, but it was a night where both teams couldn’t secure any set piece.
Crusaders Beat Hurricanes 20-12
Whilst it was compelling at times, two sets of back lines that have traditionally been outstanding in 2017 struggled to control the ball. Conditions were slippery underfoot as mist hung around Christchurch, but both sides were also guilty of trying too hard at times.
For all their struggle in the first half, the teams were locked at 9-9 going into halftime, but they were equally as concerned with the amount of penalties being given away.
The Hurricanes defense began to crumble in the second half, and the Crusaders took full advantage. When Matt Todd scored the first try of the match, the tide began to turn in the home sides favor. The Hurricanes had to respond. The last thing the visitors needed was to concede penalties, but Ardie Savea handed the Crusaders a further three points and found himself lucky not to be spending time on the sidelines for a high tackle.
The Hurricanes were guilty of not kicking for enough territory. The Barrett brothers had little to no impact on the game, and Julian Savea was nowhere to be seen. With a lesser degree of influence, it was a match where teams ‘cancelled the other out’ and where the Crusaders beat Hurricanes men who have previously been game breakers. Their lack of intensity ultimately cost them in the end.
Crusaders 20 – Tries: Matt Todd; Penalties: Mo’unga (5)
Hurricanes 12 – Penalties: Barrett (4)
Matt Todd Notches 100 Games For Crusaders
The presence of Matt Todd didn’t go unnoticed, with his 100th cap for the Crusaders celebrated [as he played that game in South Africa against the Cheetahs].
Todd had a few runs when gaps in the Hurricanes defense presented themselves, but his leadership at the breakdown was telling and led to more than a few turnovers. Todd’s try off a rolling maul shortly after halftime was just the icing on the cake of what’s been a remarkable run in Super Rugby.
With his competition for the flanker role in the All Blacks, his continuing high standards will make for great internal competition for the number seven jersey, when the squads for the British and Irish Lions team is announced on June 8.
“Main photo credit”