The Crusaders, stung by what they felt was a dubious refereeing decision, stormed back to beat the Blues 26-15 and maintain a phenomenal home record in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Crusaders are now undefeated in their last 36 games at their home fortress where the Blues have not won since 2004.
As is so often the case, the Crusaders held their nerve in the latter stages of the match to pinch the honours in the top of the table clash in New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. The Crusaders are now the only unbeaten team in the competition.
“We saw it as a Test match,” said Crusaders captain and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor, while adding that even when they were behind on the scoreboard they remained confident.
“That was hard-fought. They were on top for most of the game, really, but we knew if we came out in the second half and won those little moments we would get the job done.”
Blues skipper Patrick Tuipulotu said they could not keep up in the final quarter.
“We seemed to be in it for three quarters then they applied pressure and kept us in our half”.
In fixtures such as these, it’s winning those so-called ‘smaller battles’ that make all the difference. A quick glance at the general stats between these two teams on Saturday confirms that cliche. The scoreline perhaps belies just how tense things were.
Super Rugby Aotearoa stats: Crusaders vs Blues
Data source: super.rugby
The Hurricanes will host the Highlanders on Sunday in the weekend’s remaining fixture. Kick off is at 5:35 SAST.
Additional reporting from wires, agencies.