11 on the bounce: Crusaders continue Super stranglehold over the Bluesby AP and staff writers
The defending champion Crusaders rebounded from an early season loss to extend their Super Rugby winning streak over the Blues to 11 matches with a 25-8 win at Eden Park on Friday.
The Crusaders lost to the Chiefs in last weekend’s second round and had to quickly regroup to face the Blues who were coming off an away win over the Waratahs.
“I think we had a decent review (of the Chiefs loss),” Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said. “We had a bit of hurt that was bottled up inside us.
“We knew we had to start well and play for the full 80 and I think we did that.
“You saw at the end there the boys really coming forward and making some good tackles.”
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The Crusaders had to come from behind to win as they conceded a try after only seven minutes to Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.
But they quickly pulled themselves together and controlled most of the rest of the match, though it was strewn from errors from both teams.
After a penalty to David Havili, winger George Bridge gave the Crusaders a lead they didn’t relinquish for the rest of the match.
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A further Havili penalty gave them an 11-5 lead at halftime, which the Blues cut to three points with a penalty just after the restart.
Tries to five-eighth Richie Mo’unga and centre Jack Goodhue in the third quarter took the match out of the reach of the Blues who couldn’t hold onto possession.
On the few occasions the Blues threatened the Crusaders line, the defence was up to the challenge.
The Blues have now lost both of their matches against conference opponents this season, continuing a long losing record in matches against New Zealand teams.
CRUSADERS 25 (George Bridge, Jack Goodhue, Richie Mo’unga tries; David Havili 2 con, 2 pen) BLUES 8 (Patrick Tuipulotu try, Harry Plummer pen)
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