The BNZ Crusaders have well and truly bounced back from last week’s draw with the Sharks, beating the Bulls 45-13 at a packed Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this morning.

 

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Image courtesy of Photosport - Official Photographer of the BNZ Crusaders

 

Sevu Reece and Richie Mo’unga were stand outs in the seven tries to one victory. Reece, scoring a hattrick, while Mo’unga bagged two tries and kicked five conversions.

The opening quarter of the match was electric, with the first scrum coming in the 13th minute. Mo’unga, who was fresh from a rest week, kicked things off for the Crusaders. George Bridge put the ball to boot and it bounced awkwardly for Handre Pollard who fumbled it, allowing Mo’unga to strike first for the Crusaders and score under the post. Pollard kicked a penalty to put his side on the board, but the buffer didn’t last long, with Mo’unga scoring again just a few minutes later thanks to a turnover from the forwards. It was a brilliant individual effort from the first five. He threw a dummy and broke the Bulls defensive line, running 50 metres to score.

The Bulls were awarded another penalty and Pollard struck it nicely, but the Crusaders were on the hunt again. George Bridge slipped through a Bulls defender, offloading to Jack Goodhue who passed it on to lock Mitchell Dunshea who then sprinted along the left flank to score in the corner. George Bridge was outstanding for the Crusaders, making 108 metres and he put Kieran Read into space just before halftime. The No 8 offloaded to Sevu Reece who put his side in front 26-6 at half time.

The Crusaders and Reece started the second half as they finished the first. The ball popped up for Reece from the breakdown and he charged towards the posts, through holes in the Bulls defence. Despite the lead, discipline became an issue for the Crusaders. They were penalised 13 times in the match, with the Bulls penalised just four times. One of those penalties led to the Bulls first try. After many phases and attempts to score, Pollard passed the ball out to the right and Burger Odendaal cracked the Crusaders defence, scoring beside the posts.

Mo’unga showed his brilliance again in the 63rd minute. A nice cross field kick found Sevu Reece who went in for his hattrick. But the Crusaders weren’t done yet. With five minutes left on the clock, the visitors had a line out five metres from the line and the ball popped up for Scott Barrett who busted his way through a couple of defenders to score in the corner. Mitch Hunt was unable to convert, but the Crusaders took the bonus-point win to get their South African tour off to a perfect start.

 

Scorers: Bulls 13 (Burger Odendaal try; Handre Pollard 1 con; Pollard 2 pens) BNZ Crusaders 45 (Richie Mo’unga 2, Mitchell Dunshea, Sevu Reece 3, Scott Barrett tries; Mo’unga 5 cons) Halftime: 6-26

 

Match report courtesy of www.superrugby.co.nz