The BNZ Crusaders have once again shown their ability to up the tempo when it matters by scoring 36 second half points to defeat the Brumbies 36-14 in Christchurch. It was an incredible second half performance from the Crusaders who didn’t look like crossing the Brumbies line in a tough first half, let alone coming away with a bonus point victory.

Despite not tasting victory over the Crusaders in more than ten years, the Brumbies showed no signs of being overawed in an impressive opening forty minutes.With former Crusader Pete Samu leading the effort at the breakdown, the Brumbies completely shut the Crusaders out of the contest in the first half. The Crusaders were forced to work hard in the tight exchanges and got through a mountain of tackles as the Brumbies kept the ball in hand rather than booting possession into the hands of the Crusaders exciting back three.Playing in his 150th match for the Crusaders, returning prop Owen Franks was handed a yellow card in the 27th minute for a no-arms tackle on Brumbies wing Henry Speight. The one-man advantage paid off for the Brumbies in the 33rd minute when first five-eighth Christian Leallifano skipped through two tackles to score and give the Brumbies a 7-0 lead.There haven’t been many tries in Super Rugby more deserved than Leallifano’s strike. It was a try that was built on 33 minutes of relentless ball running, ravenous work at the break down and tiger-like defence.

The Crusaders are a dangerous team late in the half and the Brumbies turned their attention to defence in the final five minutes to hold out the Crusaders and go into the sheds with a well-deserved seven-point lead.The key word in the second half for the Crusaders was intensity. From their physicality up front to ball movement out wide, the Crusaders were simply too good for the Brumbies in the second half. It took just three minutes before the Crusaders crossed the line when Sevu Reece finished off a breathless passage, which saw the direction of attack changed multiple times.Impressive rookie wing Will Jordan grabbed a quick double in the 47th and 53rd minute to make it 19-7 and when Toni Pulu and Sam Carter were yellow carded for dangerous tackles there was to be no coming back for the Brumbies.;Their energy waned late in the game as Sevu Reece picked up a second try and Jordan Taufua scored from the bench to make it 33-7.

After such an impressive opening half, it was fitting that the Brumbies had the final say when Toni Pulu busted the line and fed to Tevita Kuridrani to score.The win has lifted the Crusaders to 29 points at the top of the ladder, six points clear of the second-placed Hurricanes.

Scorers:BNZ Crusaders 36 (Sevu Reece 2, Will Jordan 2, Jordan Taufua tries, Richie Mo’unga 3 con, Brett Cameron con, pen) Brumbies 14 (Tevita Kuridrani try, Christian Lealiifano try, 2 con)HT: 0-7

Match report courtesy of www.superrugby.co.nz