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Image courtesy of Photosport - Official Photographer of the BNZ Crusaders

 

With Kieran Read back for the first time in 2019, and no less than 10 All Blacks in their starting fifteen, the Crusaders came into the clash as slight favourites despite not winning in Wellington since 2012.

The Hurricanes named a near full strength side and were desperate to make up for their early season 32-18 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Crusaders suffered an injury blow before kick off with George Bridge ruled out and impressive youngster Will Jordan coming onto the wing.

After a high-tempo opening 10 minutes, it was Jordan who crossed for the first try after a superb kick from halfback Bryn Hall. Taking the ball from the back of the scrum, Hall noticed plenty of open territory in the corner and punched the ball deep where Jordan showed great pace to snatch the ball and slide over for a well taken try. 

Less than 10 minutes later the Crusaders had their second try from a kick. Fullback David Havili fielded an aimless Hurricanes kick and hoisted the ball into space. His opposite Chase Tiatia misjudged the kick and Havili was on the spot to pounce on the bouncing ball and run in for the five-pointer.

The Hurricanes showed their ability late in the half when they piled the pressure on the Crusaders line and secured their first try. When Matt Todd was yellow carded for interfering with a TJ Perenara quick tap, the Hurricanes gave the Crusaders a taste of their own medicine with a piece of set piece magic. Taking the ball quick from the top of the lineout, second five-eighth Ngani Laumape hit the line at pace close to the lineout and went over for his sixth try of the season.
 
The gap was closed to 8 – 14, but that was to be as close as the Hurricanes would get.
 
The BNZ Crusaders are at their most dangerous either side of the half and proved that once again when David Havili went over for his second try early on to put the Hurricanes on the back foot.

There was to be no recovery for the Hurricanes as the Crusaders put the foot down. In the 50th minute, the Crusaders wore down the Hurricanes defence in tight before swinging the ball wide for Braydon Ennor to score.

At 29 – 8 up there was really no way back for the Hurricanes and the Crusaders were happy to hold on for their bonus point win.

First five-eighth Richie Mo’unga put on a solid performance in the 10 jersey and crossed 500 career points for the BNZ Crusaders, with a penalty in the 72nd minute which secured the 32 – 8 victory. 

Next week the Hurricanes head south to take on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium while the Crusaders are back home against the Brumbies in Christchurch.

 
Scorers: Hurricanes 8 (Ngani Laumape tries, Jordie Barrett pen) BNZ Crusaders 32 (Will Jordan, David Havili 2, Braydon Ennor tries, Richie Mo’unga 3 con, 2 pen)
HT: 8 - 17