Crusaders step up the pace

After annihilating the Hurricanes in Wellington and grabbing a bonus point win in Sydney against the ‘Tahs last weekend it looks as though Super Rugby’s most successful franchise might be starting to hit top gear again.
It was a hard-fought battle for the Red and Blacks in Australia on the weekend, but one that they never really looked in serious threat of losing. Robbie Fruean played hero and villain for the visitors in the space of five minutes, first missing a tackle to allow the Waratahs to score the first try, then bursting throw the home side’s defence to even up the scores. He then played provider, setting up Zac Guildford for the Crusaders’ second try, while Brendan McKibbin kept the other side of the scoreboard ticking over with two well taken penalty goals, the half-time score a slim 14-13 advantage for the Crusaders.

While the two sides traded points and swapped the lead a number of times in the second half the Crusaders look relatively comfortable at all times, with Tom Taylor’s boot becoming an increasingly dependable weapon. Tries to Adam Whitelock and a second for Robbie Fruean eventually saw the Crusaders put the result out of doubt, and though the ‘Tahs narrowed the gap to 37-33 the visitors were staunch in defence, and closed out the game well.

Traditionally slow starters the Crusaders seemed little fazed by loses early in the competition, and the return of world-class players like Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, coupled with the outstanding form of game-breakers Fruean and Guildford means the Cantabrians look well on course to play a major part in the business end of the competition.

Guest Author: Tim Cronin

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