Mo'unga hat-trick joy as Crusaders hammer Reds in one-sided clash of champions

By Sports Desk May 22, 2021

Richie Mo'unga plundered a hat-trick as the Crusaders demolished the Reds 63-28 in Brisbane, with the champions of New Zealand swamping their Australian counterparts in Super Rugby Trans Tasman.

In just the second round of the competition, the Canterbury giants showed off their prowess and Mo'unga served up a dazzling offering of his quality.

The All Blacks fly-half was in inspired form from the off, and by the half-hour mark he had already snagged a pair of clinical tries and set up Sevu Reece to dart in for another stunning score. With Cullen Grace also sprinting through for a try, and Mo'unga clinical from the tee, the rampaging Crusaders were 28-0 ahead after just 29 minutes.

Tate McDermott got the Reds on the board with their first try, but the Crusaders kept the points flowing, Reece dashing in at the right corner to increase their lead to 35-7 early in the second half, before Mo'unga got his third try after 55 minutes, dotting down near the posts to allow himself an easy conversion.

A penalty try, accompanied by a yellow card for Harry Hoopert, nudged the Crusaders 49-7 ahead, but curiously the 14-man Reds then enjoyed their best spell, as Harry Wilson and Suliasi Vunivalu scored classy tries to reduce their deficit to 49-21 going into the final 15 minutes.

Hopes of further damage limitation were crushed when Tamaiti Williams powered over and Codie Taylor added another try to emphasise a devastating team performance, before Brandon Paenga-Amosa barged in for a last-gasp consolation.

Luke Jacobson earlier crossed twice as the Chiefs ran in six tries in a 40-19 victory over the Brumbies in Hamilton.

The hosts overwhelmed their visitors, with Jacobson landing a first-half double, collecting from the back of the scrum and crossing from close range each time, and further tries coming from Tupou Vaa'i, Damian McKenzie, Alex Nankivell and Anton Lienert-Brown.

McKenzie booted five conversions, with the result never in doubt. The Brumbies responded through tries from Len Ikitau, Tom Cusack and, right at the death, Rob Valetini.

Wing Bryce Heem grabbed a hat-trick for a rampant Blues side whose second-half dominance secured a 48-21 win against the Waratahs.

Armed with a 22-14 half-time advantage, the Blues raised their game for the second 40 minutes and pulled away, inflicting a 10th straight defeat of the season on the visitors to Eden Park.

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    Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the side that lost 27-9 in last weekend's encounter in Cape Town.

    Hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, centre Bundee Aki, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams all come into the XV.

    Wales duo Adams and Williams are likely to have an important role in the back three under the Springboks' kicking game that dismantled the Lions after half-time last time out.

    Tight-head prop Sinckler will take his place on the bench alongside fly-half Finn Russell, lock Adam Beard and number eight Sam Simmonds – the three of whom are in Test squad for the first time in the series.

    Gatland has axed Owen Farrell Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson, Stuart Hogg, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Beirne and Chris Harris from his 23.

    "The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them - to seal a Lions series victory in South Africa," said the veteran coach.

    "It doesn't get much bigger than this and we're excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

    "We've no excuses from last week - the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second-half performance, and I believe we will be."

    Sinckler denied allegations that he bit Franco Mostert and World Rugby were unable to find sufficient evidence to punish the England forward, who was facing a minimum 12-week ban.

    A statement from the governing body read: "Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that on the balance of probabilities, it could not be satisfied that the player committed an act of foul play.

    "On that basis, the committee dismissed the citing and the player is free to play again immediately."

    South Africa are without world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit and influential scrum-half Faf de Klerk through injury.

    Cobus Reinach comes in for De Klerk while Franco Mostert's switch to blindside flanker means Lood de Jager will partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

    Veteran fly-half Morne Steyn, whose long-range penalty secured a series triumph for the Springboks over the Lions in 2009, is named on the bench.

     

    British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan

    Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly

     

    South Africa : Wille le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese

    Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse

  • South Africa's Erasmus to face misconduct hearing after criticising match officials South Africa's Erasmus to face misconduct hearing after criticising match officials

    South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is to face a misconduct hearing after publicly criticising the match officials following their first Test defeat to the British and Irish Lions.

    Erasmus accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win last month and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

    The 48-year-old made the claims in a 62-minute clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against South Africa.

    He also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls" made by the tourists.

    World Rugby has now cited Erasmus for his comments and he, along with South African Rugby, will face a judicial hearing.

    "Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game," a statement from the rugby governing body read on Monday.

    "World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines their role, the well established and trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport.

    "Having conducted a full review of all the available information, World Rugby is concerned that individuals from both teams have commented on the selection and/or performance of match officials.

    "However, the extensive and direct nature of the comments made by Rassie Erasmus within a video address, in particular, meets the threshold to be considered a breach of World Rugby regulation 18 (misconduct and code of conduct) and will now be considered by an independent disciplinary panel.

    "World Rugby has reminded the management of both teams of the importance of this area and their obligations regarding the values of the sport."

    In response, SA Rugby posted a brief statement on Twitter, which read: "SA Rugby has noted the charges brought by World Rugby and will respond through the designated channels. There will be no further comment from SA Rugby until the process is complete."

    South Africa defeated the Lions 27-9 in a fiery encounter at the weekend to level the three-match series at 1-1 and set up a decider in Cape Town on Saturday.

    Erasmus, who has doubled up as a water carrier, may still be present for that showdown as a hearing date has not yet been set by World Rugby.

  • Sinckler cited for alleged bite ahead of Lions decider against South Africa Sinckler cited for alleged bite ahead of Lions decider against South Africa

    Kyle Sinckler could miss the British and Irish Lions' deciding Test against South Africa after being cited for an alleged bite on Franco Mostert.

    The incident occurred during the 64th minute of an ill-tempered second Test in Cape Town, a game the hosts won 27-9 to level the series at one apiece.

    England prop Sinckler has come off the bench in both Tests so far but would face a minimum ban of 12 weeks if found guilty.

    The 28-year-old will attend a World Rugby hearing via video conference on Tuesday.

    In a statement, World Rugby added there were no additional citings from the match after Lions full-back Stuart Hogg denied allegations that he had bitten Springbok counterpart Willie le Roux.

    "I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I've always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game," Scotland international Hogg said in a statement issued by the Lions.

    The third and final Test between the teams takes place at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. 

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