Home Sports Super Rugby Pacific 2022 rugby: Crusaders beat Melbourne Rebels

Super Rugby Pacific 2022 rugby: Crusaders beat Melbourne Rebels


Melbourne Rebels emerged with plenty of credit if not to the points in an error-strewn but entertaining 42-17 loss to the Crusaders to bring the curtain down on the Super Round in Melbourne.

The Rebels had trailled just 7-3 at halftime as the Crusaders were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball in hand.

The Kiwi team, with Richie Mo’unga calling the shots, stepped up their intensity after the break and scored 28 unanswered points before the Rebels gave their home fans something to cheer with two tries in the last 10 minutes.

Seemingly stung by Melbourne’s impudence, the Crusaders grabbed one last try to give them a healthy winning margin.

After the Brumbies earlier gave the Aussie sides their sole win from four matches against Kiwi opposition, the Rebels showed plenty of resilience after losing Matt Toomua to an early head knock and Carter Gordon had a solid game.

But it was the All Blacks No.10 Mo’unga who proved the shining lights, along with flanker Ethan Blackadder who contributed two tries.

The Crusaders were much improved after the halftime break.

“We just talked about simplifying things,” Mo’unga told Stan Sport. “It was about having a clear picture. There were things that were 50-50s and we were pushing them anyway.

“We knew it was a big occasion for them but we talked about sticking to our process and we got away from it there. We’ve got to be better in the next couple of games.”

Crusaders skipper Codie Taylor said: “We’ll take the win but it was a bit scratchy there in the first half. There were a lot of opportunities for us to hold the ball and build pressure and I think we made a few linebreaks and didn’t finish. We probably got a bit excited and the big thing around that is completing.

“I’m proud of the boys for how they came out in the second half.”

Rebels’ plain speaking skipper Michael Wells said: “We lost the gain line from the start.

“We let them dictate terms in contact which against a team like the Crusaders, if you let them win the gain line it’s a long day.

“Yeah there were positive aspects to our game – we scored a few points and at moments we were looking okay but if we’re competing in this competition we’ve got to put together 80 minutes and really compete for the gain line more.”

Wells said losing Toomua had been significant – “the leadership, around the ground attack wise, he’s a really cool head but [Gordon] did really well. I didn’t feel he missed a step and it’s really positive for him and his development that he got that great opportunity.

“I think the team’s got to do more around him to help out.”

“We were actually really frustrated,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told Stan Sport of the feeling in the team at halftime.

“We had so many opportunities – too many – and we didn’t take any of the right ones.”


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