Super Rugby: Perfect Blues stay top, Crusaders march on

By Sports Desk June 04, 2021

The Blues beat the Reds 31-24 in Brisbane on Friday to stay top of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman table.

Leon MacDonald's side have now won four out of four in the competition, though they were denied a precious bonus point at Suncorp Stadium against the injury-plagued Reds.

Harry Wilson found a gap to score the opening try of the match for the home team, but Brandon Paenga-Amosa's yellow card for collapsing a maul proved to be a turning point.

Dalton Papalii and winger Mark Telea crossed over for the Blues in the space of seven minutes as MacDonald's charges took full advantage of the one-man advantage.

Patrick Tuipulotu and Finlay Christie were next to dot down for the leaders, either side of Paenga-Amosa's try, to give their side a 17-point advantage.

The Reds made a fight of it late on when a crosskick sent Filipo Daugunu over, soon followed by a successful penalty from the Fiji-born winger, but the comeback fell just short.

The Blues are one point better off than Super Rugby Aotearoa champions the Crusaders, who also made it four wins from four by defeating the Western Force 29-21 in Christchurch.

Scott Robertson's side were made to work hard for the victory after falling behind to Toni Pulu's well-taken try inside the opening four minutes.

Manasa Mataele finished soon after and Will Jordan slid over to complete a quickfire turnaround for the Crusaders, who went further ahead thanks to Whetu Douglas.

Ollie Callan's score from close range looked to have given the Force some hope, only for Sione Havili to cross the whitewash after the half-time hooter had sounded.

Jordan got his second of the game to give the Crusaders a 15-point lead and they stayed strong at the back until the final seconds.

Jordan Olowofela chased down Kyle Godwin's kick and went over, denying the Crusaders a bonus point in the process.

Related items

  • Former England head coach Lancaster to leave Leinster for Racing 92 Former England head coach Lancaster to leave Leinster for Racing 92

    Former England head coach Stuart Lancaster will leave Leinster at the end of the season to join French side Racing 92 as director of rugby.

    Lancaster has spent seven seasons as senior coach with Leinster, whom he joined in 2016 after stepping down as England boss on the back of a poor 2015 World Cup campaign.

    The 52-year-old worked under Leo Cullen and helped guide the Irish side to the European Champions Cup title in 2018, as well as four Pro14 titles.

    Racing confirmed on Monday that Lancaster will start his new position next July on a four-year contract, with current boss Laurent Travers taking up a role as chairman of the club's management board.

    "It is with great joy and pride that I am taking on the role of rugby director for Racing 92," Lancaster said. "I thank Laurent Travers and the whole club for the trust they have chosen to place in me.

    "I know the responsibilities that will be mine at the head of this extraordinary squad, certainly one of the most competitive in Europe. I look forward to working with all these talented players to support me in my mission."

  • Care misses out for England training camp, Tuilagi and Simmonds return Care misses out for England training camp, Tuilagi and Simmonds return

    Danny Care has been left out of England's training squad ahead of the Autumn Nations Series but Manu Tuilagi and Sam Simmonds return.

    Scrum-half Care featured in the Red Rose's series victory over Australia in July, but is not among the 36 players who will report for a three-day camp this weekend.

    Centre Tuilagi and number eight Simmonds are back in the fold after recovering from injuries, while pivot Ben Youngs has been selected ahead of the November encounters with Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.

    Simmonds gets the nod amid reports that he could leave Exeter Chiefs to join Montpellier, a move that would make him ineligible to play for his country.

    Locks Alex Coles and Hugh Tizard have been called up for the first time, while Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and David Ribbans are also included.

    Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje are among the absentees due to injury.

    England head coach Eddie Jones said: "With a year to go to the Rugby World Cup, this is a big opportunity for players to come in and impress. We want them to show real energy and enthusiasm and that they want to be a part of this massive year.

    "It doesn't mean that those who have been left out won't be considered for the Autumn Nations Series matches. We'll be looking at club games, form and fitness and the door is left open for those players.

    "We finished the Australia tour well. It was a fantastic experience, particularly for the younger players. We now have to start again, but we'll build on what we've done there and continue that momentum."

     

    England training squad:

    Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Lewis Ludlam, Tom Pearson, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Patrick Schickerling, Sam Simmonds, Will Stuart, Hugh Tizard, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

    Backs: Henry Arundell, Joe Cokanasiga, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, Jack Nowelll, Guy Porter, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs.

  • Foster warns champions New Zealand have 'quite a bit left in this tank' Foster warns champions New Zealand have 'quite a bit left in this tank'

    Ian Foster warned New Zealand have "quite a bit left in this tank" after they retained their Rugby Championship title on Saturday.

    The All Blacks thrashed Australia 40-14 at Eden Park on Saturday to put one hand on the trophy and South Africa were unable to dethrone them, beating Argentina 38-21 later in the day when they needed a bonus-point win by a margin of at least 39 points.

    Defeats to the Springboks and the Pumas following a home series loss to Ireland had seen Foster come under huge pressure, but the head coach was backed to stay in the role.

    The All Blacks boss says there is plenty more to come from his side less than a year before the Rugby World Cup starts in France.

    He said on Sunday: "There is still quite a bit left in this tank. We saw that even last night. The building blocks are nice, but there are still a lot of finishing touches we're not quite getting right. But what a great spot to be in.

    "It's up to us to make sure they're areas we can now tidy up. Some of the conversion rates in our line-breaks, for example, and I was disappointed we let them back on the scorecard in that last 10 minutes … they're small things but could be important things in 12 months' time."

    Foster expressed his pride over the way his players have overcome adversity to win the title.

    He said: "It's very special. It's been a different journey to other Rugby Championships we've won. To do it from behind the eight-ball at the start … it's not the way we wanted, but it's very satisfying. I'm really proud of the effort the boys have put in."

    Foster added: "In life you don't know what it's going to chuck at you. You can only deal with the situation you're in and no one can walk in those shoes but yourself.

    "What have we learnt? That under pressure we stay tight, under pressure we've sought solutions that have made us uncomfortable at times, but the goal is to get the performance right."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.