The Brumbies 2019 season hopes are slowly evaporating after going down to the Crusaders in Christchurch 36-14. Despite the final score, the Brumbies put in a valiant effort and even went to the break up 7-0 before the Crusaders showed their Championship mentality with 36 points in the second half. Two yellow cards for high tackles against the Brumbies and a rampant Crusaders display in the second half saw them run out 22-point winners.
The Brumbies rested a trio of their Wallabies in Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a and Rory Arnold and were also without the injured David Pocock but their replacements looked good in the first half, with Darcy Swain a standout before the All Black laden Crusaders bench took over.
The opening minutes resembled a Barbarians game, with both sides willing to throw the ball around with an obvious game plan from the Brumbies to get the ball wide as early as possible early in the phases.
The frantic nature continued with neither team able to breach the defence after 20 minutes with the Brumbies knocking back two easy shots at penalty goal and attempting to use their rolling maul but came up empty after good defence from the Crusaders.
They thought they had scored the opening points after 24 minutes with patient build up from their forwards and multiple phases but a knock on right on the line from Murray Douglas to let the Crusaders off the hook.
The visitors got a crucial leg up after 27 minutes with Owen Franks given a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Henry Speight but after a few scrums and penalties against the Crusaders, Christian Lealiifano finally stepped his way through three defenders to open the scoring after 33 minutes.
In the shadows of half time, the Crusaders had their best chance of the half to hit back but the Brumbies maul defence, in particular Darcy Swain in his starting debut, stood up right on their own line to deny a Crusaders try and leave it 7-0 at the break.
The Crusaders came out with better intensity early in the second half and on the back of a penalty, it only took three minutes for them to respond from winger Sevu Reece and Richie Mo’unga’s conversion leveled the scores.
The Crusaders only need a sniff to turn the game and then only minutes later they looked to have scored but TMO Ben Skeen and his trusty camera 7 struck again to find a knock on from Quinten Strange as he dived over.
But the Brumbies couldn’t get out of their end and after a scrum penalty, Will Jordan went over in the right corner after a high tackle from Toni Pulu that saw him with a yellow card.
Right off the restart Richie Mo’unga found a gap on his own 22 and looked set to score before Tom banks got him right on the five metre line but another penalty was taken advantage of by Will Jordan who had his head smashed for a second time and scored but the Brumbies were very lucky not to be down to 13 men after Tom Cusack was the culprit.
The Brumbies stemmed the tide and worked back into the game ad kept attacking the Crusaders line but another high shot, this time from Sam Carter, saw them down to 13 men and the Crusaders didn’t need a second invitation as Jordan Taufua added his name to the try scorers list as the Crusaders emptied their All Black laden bench
With the Brumbies chasing the game, they attempted to throw it wide but Sevu Reece swooped on a long pass to claim his second try of the game as the Crusaders ticked past 30.
But the Brumbies showed they could score a long range try themselves and from deep in their own end, Toni Pulu found a gap and showed his pace and he found Tevita Kuridrani for a consolation try.
A late penalty goal to Brett Cameron stretched the margin to 36-14 and consign the Brumbies to another defeat in Christchurch.
The Game Changer
The second half. The Brumbies second halves in 2019 have been disappointing but you know what to expect from the Crusaders. Three tries in 13 minutes was all they needed to run away from a valiant Brumbies side with 36 points in the second half.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty from the Crusaders to consider after that performance including Will Jordan and Sevu Recce with doubles. Matt Todd was big around the rucks but once Richie Mo’unga started pulling the strings in the second half, the Crusaders were impossible to stop. Honourable mention to Darcy Swain in his starting debut.
The Brumbies rested Sio, Fainga’a, Arnold and also without the injured David Pocock so it was left to other experienced players. James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa had solid games where they played many minutes. Lachie McCaffrey had a good matchup against Keiran Read.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Lealiifano, Kuridrani
Conversions: Lealiifano 2
Tries: Jordan 2, Reece 2, Taufua
Conversions: Mo’unga 3
27 mins – Franks (Crusaders) – Yellow
54 mins – Pulu (Brumbies) – Yellow
66 mins – Carter (Brumbies) – Yellow