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Crusaders too strong for Reds in Brisbane

The Crusaders have got the better of the Reds in Brisbane, winning 22-12 to secure their 18th consecutive Super Rugby victory.

Crusaders too strong for Reds in Brisbane

The Crusaders have got the better of the Reds in Brisbane, winning 22-12 to secure their 18th consecutive Super Rugby victory.

Coach SCOTT ROBERTSON of the Crusaders looks on prior to the Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Coach SCOTT ROBERTSON of the Crusaders looks on prior to the Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture:Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

The Crusaders have extended their record Super Rugby winning streak to 18, dominating Queensland's scrum in a 22-12 win in Brisbane.

The back-to-back defending champions dictated play on Saturday, holding 60 per cent of possession and making 46 fewer tackles as they repeatedly won the battle of the breakdown.


A first-half injury to Jordan Petaia's foot or ankle could also prove cause for concern, with the emerging Reds centre to have scans after it was crushed in a tackle.

All Blacks front-row duo Joe Moody and Owen Franks were all class in the scrums, while Brad Thorn lamented the Reds' impatience with ball in hand.

"Out of respect we brought them and I'm glad we did, they were exceptional tonight," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said of the decision not to rest one or both of his star forwards.

Twice in the second half the Crusaders pushed over from close-range line-outs to seal the contest, with the first of those coming via Whetu Douglas following a 22-phase sequence.

Scott Higginbotham came off the bench to score late for the Reds and deny the visitors a bonus point after they were forced to play the final six minutes with just 14 players.

Starting No.10 Richie Mo'unga had returned to the field to replace Mitch Hunt, who had suffered an injury most thought to be a head knock.

Officials didn't agree though, and with all their reserves used up Mo'unga was forced back off the ground in a curious move Robertson said would be investigated by the side.

The hosts' chances of a comeback had earlier been thwarted when JP Smith was penalised for the slightest of obstructions as Liam Wright strolled through for a disallowed try with 10 minutes to play.

Reds coach Brad Thorn said his side's kicking game needed improvement, not abandoning as they sought to find a balance of styles in their own half.

"It felt like we got opportunities with ball and we turned it straight back over," he said.

"When we hold the ball ... things can happen."

Jack Goodhue's clever cross-field kick found Braydon Ennor all alone on the wing for the Cantabrians' first, before fullback Will Jordan finished a sequence that stretched 80 metres and saw eight sets of hands.

Samu Kerevi's decision not to take a shot at goal in the 35th minute paid off though, with the Reds captain slicing through to make it 7-10 at the break.

AAP


AAP




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