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SPORTS

Seta Scores In Crusaders Win

Fijian centre turned winger Seta Tamani­valu scored a try as Crusaders started their Super Rugby championship de­fence with a blowout 45-23 win over the Chiefs last night – but the
25 Feb 2018 20:14
Seta Scores In Crusaders Win
Matt Todd of the Crusaders dives over to score a try against Chiefs during round two of the Super Rugby clash at AMI Stadium in Chirstchurch, New Zealand on February 24, 2018. Photo: Zimbio

Fijian centre turned winger Seta Tamani­valu scored a try as Crusaders started their Super Rugby championship de­fence with a blowout 45-23 win over the Chiefs last night – but the New Zealand derby wasn’t without controversy.

With the game firmly in the balance at 26-23, the Crusaders were awarded a penalty try late in the match after a swinging arm from La­chlan Boshier caught a diving Ryan Crotty on the shoulder, before sliding up to the neck close to the line.

Referee Ben O’Keefe acknowledged that Bosh­ier could do little else in attempting to make the try-saving tackle, but said he had no other op­tion but to award the Crusaders a penalty try for the high tackle and send the defender to the sin bin.

PHYSIOTHERAPISTS

According to Rugby Heaven, the physiothera­pists will have to work overtime to repair some badly bruised bodies after this brutal clash in Christchurch.

There were other inexplicable brain explo­sions, maybe a reflection of this still being so early in the season.

Crusaders rake Taylor may shake his head when he reviews the replay of his decision to take a quick penalty tap while hard on defence, and some early high shots by the Chiefs soon had O’Keeffe issuing them a warning.

The set-pieces were untidy for both sides. Chiefs tighthead prop Nepo Laulala earned his side a couple of scrum penalties in the first half, but the Crusaders were also dominant in the third quarter.

Hookers Nathan Harris and Codie Taylor struggled at times to land their darts on their designated targets – although the early loss of towering lock Dominic Bird hardly helped the Chiefs cause.

Ill-discipline by first five-eighth Damian Mc­Kenzie cost the Chiefs, who were playing into a southerly breeze, inside the first six minutes. A late shoulder charge by the playmaker guaran­teed the Crusaders a penalty, and the home side struck off the subsequent lineout when flanker Matt Todd barrelled over off a ruck.

ROUGH PERIOD

So began a rough period of the game for Mc­Kenzie, as he blasted the restart over the touch­line and later fired a pass that appeared to ping off Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty’s head and resulted in his first-five Mo’unga chasing the loose ball to score.

Poor decisions continued to dog both sides in that first spell.

Mo’unga, having done well to drag down Char­lie Ngatai short of the line, was yellow carded for playing the ball in the ruck and then Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick conceded a penalty for us­ing his massive frame to jolt David Havili after he had cleared for touch.

FIGHTING BACK

Despite being reduced to 14 men, the Crusad­ers were not to be flustered; they remained composed and kept the scoreboard rolling over when wing Tamanivalu finished off an attack to flop over in the right-hand pocket.

David Havili’s conversion gave the Crusad­ers a 19-3 lead, and it all looked too easy. That was until the Chiefs surged back in impressive style.

SCORERS

CRUSADERS– 45 (Matt Todd, Richie Mo’unga, Seta Tamanivalu, Sam Whitelock, George Bridge, Manasa Mataele tries; pen try, con; Mo’unga 3 con, David Havili con)

CHIEFS 23- (Sam Cane, Solomon Alaimalo tries; Damian McKenzie 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 19-17.

– LEONE CABENATABUA

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