Gillies Kaka returns in All Blacks Sevens team for Glasgow and London

nz_sevensmenGillies Kaka returns in All Blacks Sevens team for Glasgow and London

The All Blacks Sevens team to play the final two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15 has been named.

The team plays at the Glasgow Sevens (9, 10 May) then London (16, 17 May).

The team is:

Scott Curry-
Ambrose Curtis-
Dylan Collier-
Sam Dickson-
Gillies Kaka-
DJ Forbes (C)
Reiko Ioane-
Tim Mikkelson-
Sherwin Stowers-
Beaudein Waaka-
Joe Webber-
Sam Vaka-
Bay of Plenty
Hawke’s Bay
Counties Manukau
Counties Manukau
Counties Manukau

The team features the return of one of the key members of the squad in recent seasons, Gillies Kaka, who has not played since injuring his hand at the Las Vegas Sevens.

“Gillies has a big influence on the way we play and with Beaudein Waaka it gives us huge depth in the crucial position of half back,” said coach Gordon Tietjens.

Bustling Counties Manukau back Sam Vaka is also back after being injured in the National Sevens in January. He earns a recall having last played in the Port Elizabeth tournament last December.

“Sam’s a powerful player, strong in contact and very quick. He’s someone who gives it his all when he plays in the black jersey so we’re looking forward to him performing well in Glasgow.”

Tietjens said the team wanted to end the season with top performances in Glasgow and London after finishing a disappointing fifth in Tokyo, but faced a challenging pool in Glasgow, having to play Kenya, Samoa and series leader South Africa.

“It’s important we do well.  If we win that pool and go on to win the tournament we can go on to win the World Series. It’s going to be tough. Qualifying for the Olympics is always our first priority so it’s paramount we do well and accumulate more points.”

New Zealand currently lies third in the series behind Fiji and South Africa, but has won just one tournament this season; Wellington. The top four teams automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Tietjens said the side had a one day camp in Auckland last week and had trained hard since assembling in Mt Maunganui on Sunday.

“We’ve really lifted the intensity in everything we do. Collectively we’re a lot fitter and better conditioned so we’re in the right shape do well in the next two tournaments.

“We finished last season by winning the last two tournaments. But this will be tougher. We’re sitting third on the table, but we can bounce back and we’ve been in this situation where at the death we’ve won another World Series so it’s a challenge for us and I am hoping we really perform.”

Glasgow Sevens schedule
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
New Zealand is in Pool B with Kenya, Samoa and South Africa and plays as follows.

Saturday 9 May

  • 12.20pm v Kenya
  • 3.26pm v Samoa
  • 6.37pm v South Africa

Sunday 10 May

Finals Day



NACRA Final : Trinidad & Tobago 30 v 16 Mexico

In four years of NACRA Men’s XVs there have been 4 different champions.


In front of an intimate crowd of 400 supporters, Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Rugby Team faced Mexico Rugby in the finals of the NACRA Men’s XVs Championships at CIC Grounds, Port -of Spain, Trinidad.

From kick off TT threatened the Mexicans, attacking with flair and running well in the backs. An open field break by Silverthorn saw TT caught near the goal-line, and Mexico was caught for a penalty in an effort to stop the next TT surge. The 5m tap-penalty was given to big-man Samuel Roberts who carried several tacklers as he crossed the line for the try.

Mexico then put TT under pressure, and their pressure was awarded with a penalty smoothy slotted by Carner.

After thirteen minutes, socre TT 5, Mexico 3.

A few minutes later TT missed touch with a penalty and Mexico tried to run the kick from deep. TT turned the ball over and launched several attacks, but a chip in-goal was covered by Mexico. TT recovered possession at the next scrum and a dive in the corner narrowly missed scoring. Mexico kicked to touch from the lineout.

At 22 minutes TT turned over a Mexico scrum and fancy stepping almost broke through the line again, but the Mexico defenders recovered and regained possession through a penalty. Momentum and field position largely favouring TT at this point.

TT’s high intensity turned over possession in a ruck at Mexico’s 22m, and another penalty resulted in a firm word from referee Sherwin and a penalty goal for TT. Score now 8-3 to the home team.

But Mexico’s organization mauling moved the ball quickly up-field soon after, and a dangerous tackle on the goal-line allowed Carner to slot another penalty goal. Game still very close at 8-6.

With ten minutes left in the half, Mexico Flegmann was judged to use a swinging arm at a ruck, and as he sat out hs yellow card TT drove the lineout in for another try, this time by captain Frederick. Taylor converted, score now 15-6.

Mexico still having trouble stopping the TT attack, and a penalty near the TT line set up a goal by Guerra-score 18-6.

TT’s slick running found more gaps soon after, and Mexico scrambled to make the tackles. A dangerous tackle by the last defender resulted in a penalty try to end the half, score 23-6 at half-time.
Mexico’s used the break well and maintained possession throigh a series of organized attacks. TT barely held off the first few drives near their line, but Mexico finally crossed for their first try of the final.

Possession and momentum now favouring Mexico, TT had to scramble to stop the big man crashes and open field breaks. Mexico on the TT line for a long spell, and two penalties resulted in yellow card to Guerra. 60 minutes gone, score 23-11.

Mexico made the most of the opportunity, with Simon Pierre crashing over for a try soon after.

Mexico were now within a converted try of drawing the match, and were gaining confidence-renewing their attacks and staying in TT’s half. It looked like Mexico might bring the game even with their continued attacks, until with 5 minutes left Agboola Silverthron, who had been threatening the Mexico defense with his deceptive, powerful running, dodged and scampered into space before shifting into high gear, running 60 metres for the try that clinched the championship for TT.

Final score, TT 30, Mexico 16.

In four years of NACRA Men’s XVs there have been 4 different champions.

Maybe next year will make it 5, but TT’s “passion and pride” will be hard to beat.

Report from NACRA Facebook Page

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Super Rugby Result : Reds 19 vs 35 Hurricanes


Reds 19 vs 35 Hurricanes

Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes passes during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium on April 26, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.

Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes passes during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium on April 26, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.

The Hurricanes moved back to the Super Rugby summit on Sunday after they comfortably beat the Reds 35-19 with a try bonus-point in Brisbane.

TJ Perenara crossed twice while Callum Gibbins and Julian Savea also touched down for the ‘Canes in what is their fifth-straight victory on the road this season.

Reds centre Samu Kerevi bagged a double inside the first quarter to give the hosts a head start but, in typical fashion, the Hurricanes came roaring back with Ma’a Nonu on fire once again, playing a key role in three of his team’s four tries.

On a day when Australasia was celebrating Anzac Day, the Reds had no reply for power of their Kiwi visitors at Suncorp Stadium.

The match may have been settled by halftime when the Hurricanes led 20-12, although both teams had managed two tries by that stage.

It was, however, a surge of power, especially in the Hurricanes back division, that offered an early clue that the New Zealanders were on the road to victory.

Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett also made a difference on the scoreboard a with a 10-point contribution via two penalties and as many conversions.

By contrast, Reds wing James missed his penalty attempts and managed one out of two conversions.

Kerevi managed touchdowns in 15th and 20th minutes as his side made good on their few incursions into the Hurricanes’ 22-metre area. In each occasion, the Hurricanes were unable to keep the barnstorming young centre in check as he burst through several tackling attempts to cross the whitewash.

In the final 10 minutes of the first-half, it was the turn of the Hurricanes’ midfield duo of Conrad Smith and Nonu to make telling contributions with midfield breaks that left the Reds’ defence in disarray.

Their efforts resulted in quick-fire tries for scrum-half Perenara and flank Gibbins in the 33rd and 37th minutes respectively to give the ‘Canes a solid lead at the interval.

When the second-half resumed, the Reds were off to an inspired start which took the Hurricanes by surprise and their defence was caught napping as flank Liam Gill grabbed a try in the 47th minute, just after a Barrett penalty. O’Connor’s conversion reduced the deficit to four points at 23-19.

But shortly afterwards, Gill was banished to the sidelines after he was yellow-carded for a cynical penalty. From that point onwards, the 14-man Reds bravely tried to keep the opposition in check, and they suffered a further set-back when O’Connor left the field concussed.

A passage of play just after the hour mark finally took the match away from the Reds as wing Julian Savea and Perenara ran in for tries in 64m and  67m minutes respectively.

Barrett managed one conversion to put the match beyond the reach of the hosts.

Reds – 19
Tries: Liam Gill (45), Samu Kerevi (20,14)
Penalties: none
Drops: none
Cons: James O’Connor (46, 21)
Yellow Card: Liam Gill (57)

Hurricanes – 35
Tries: TJ Perenara (66,33) , Julian Savea (62), Callum Gibbins (36)
Penalties: Beauden Barrett (41,27,2)
Drops: none
Cons: Beauden Barrett (67,37,35)


The Teams:

Reds: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Faagase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 Chris Kuridrani.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Callum Gibbins, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19. Mark Abbott, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 Cory Jane.

Date: Sunday, April 26
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Matt O’Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)




Super Rugby Result : Stormers 15 vs 13 Bulls


Stormers 15 vs 13 Bulls

The Stormers took control of the South African Super Rugby conference thanks to a 15-13 win over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

The home side led from start to finish, despite the Bulls scoring the only try of the game, early in the second-half through wing Bjorn Basson.

The result means the Stormers move one point clear of the Bulls at the top of the SA Conference, but trail the competition-leading Chiefs by seven.

With little attacking creativity on show, the result hinged largely on referee Jaco Peyper’s rulings at scrum time, but the Stormers probably deserved their four points, having controlled most of the game.

A try-less first-half came to an end with the hosts leading 12-3 courtesy of their dominant scrum and the accurate boot of Demetri Catrakilis.

Scoring opportunities were few and far between in Cape Town but the Stormers were good value for their lead having dominated both in terms of territory and possession.

Bulls fly-half Handré Pollard hardly saw the ball in the first-half and his opposite number left most of the playmaking to scrum-half Nic Groom in a first period characterised by massive hits and handling errors in the face a fierce defence.

Unlike their scrum, the Stormers’ line-out misfired, robbing the hosts of momentum to key parts of the game. Schalk Burger and Damian de Allende regularly got over the gainline though.

As a sign of things to come, the Stormers won a penalty at the first scrum. From the ensuing attack off their line-out, another penalty – this time for not rolling away at a ruck – gave the hosts the early lead as Catrakilis slotted the easy kick.

It was all Stormers in the opening minutes and Duane Vermeulen looked in for all money after a wonderful offload from Burger but Pierre Spies made a try-saving tackle that dislodged the ball.

The Stormers nevertheless doubled their lead as Catrakilis was handed another easy shot at goal after the Bulls prop Dean Greyling was penalised once again at scrum time.

The Bulls had hardly left their half when Catrakilis landed his third penalty – for offside – to leave the Stormers sitting pretty at the end of the first quarter.

Pollard opened the Bulls account when a scrum penalty went the other way.

The pattern for scrum penalties would continue as Catrakilis landed his fourth seconds before the half-time hooter after the Stormers were denied what would have been the opening try due to a forward pass.

The first try of the game came shortly after the restart as Basson raced home. In-form Francois Hougaard should get the credit though, as he created the chance by counter attacking from a turnover deep in his own half. JJ Engelbrecht provided the link and Basson bolted away down the touchline.

Pollard’s conversion narrowed the gap to just two points but Catrakilis replied soon after with a penalty – against Grant Hattingh for straying offside – to leave the Stormers 15-10 up with 30 minutes left on the clock.

The scrum penalties kept flowing and Polland’s second three-pointer of the night cut the deficit once again. But the Bulls failed to get close to scoring the try needed to snatch victory and so resorted to a drop-goal attempt, which was charged down by the onrushing defence.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Pens: Catrakilis 5

For Bulls:
Try: Basson
Cons: Pollard
Pens: Pollard 2


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Lappies Labuschagne, 21 Akona Ndungane, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jurgen Visser.

Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape town
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Francois Pretorious
TMO: Shaun Veldsman



Super Rugby Result : Lions 34 v 29 Cheetahs


Lions 34 v 29 Cheetahs

The Lions picked up their sixth victory of the Super Rugby season on Saturday as they saw off the Cheetahs 34-29 in a thrilling game at Ellis Park.

Four tries apiece were scored in a wonderful display of attacking rugby. However, both teams’ defensive coaches will not be happy in the review.

The Lions though will be delighted with the result as it is their fifth successive victory in the competition, as they continue to impress in 2015.

They came out firing on their home turf as a break from centre Harold Vorster got them into the opposition red zone. And from recycled ball they were over through flanker Warwick Tecklenburg with just two minutes on the clock. Elton Jantjies’ simple extras meant it was 7-0.

Johan Ackermann’s men continued to impress thereafter but could not add to their tally, with the Cheetahs the next to cross on 23 minutes. That score came from turnover ball from which Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks showed a good step and pace to race over from long distance.

At 7-7 things were nicely poised in Johannesburg heading into the break before an intelligent decision from veteran full-back Joe Pietersen saw him sit back in the pocket and land a drop-goal on 37 minutes. He almost doubled up before the hooter but his second attempt went wide.

The second-half began in similar style to the first for the Lions when wing Ruan Combrinck showed good pace to canter over after 41 minutes.

Jantjies’ successful conversion meant it was now 14-10 to the Lions and that would soon become 21-10 when outside centre Lionel Mapoe scored a long-range effort, as the Cheetahs were seemingly still in their dressing room. Naka Drotske swiftly looked to his replacements off the bench.

The Lions possibly should have taken three points soon after off the tee but instead looked for the bonus-point try. That backfired and how, with the Cheetahs finding their form soon after as they levelled matters at 24 apiece by the 64-minute mark thanks to two quick-fire tries.

Francois Venter scored first when he reached out from close-range and when Pietersen set up Johann Sadie, suddenly the Cheetahs were level.

But fortunately for the home faithful their team regrouped and launched a barrage of their own, with Janjties’ penalty followed up by a try from scrum-half Faf de Klerk to seal the victory with a bonus-point.

A late score from Cheetahs replacement flanker Carel Greeff meant the visitors at least left Ellis Park with two points after crossing for four tries to go with a defeat by less than seven points. They may feel however that the game was there for the taking on Saturday.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Tecklenburg, Combrinck, Mapoe, De Klerk
Con: Jantjies 4
Pen: Jantjies 2

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Hendricks, Venter, Sadie, Greeff
Con: Pietersen 3
Drop: Pietersen


The Teams:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Cheetahs : 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Boom Prinsloo, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveldt, 1 Danie Minnie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Michael van der Spuy, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greeff



Super Rugby Result : Waratahs 18 vs 16 Rebels


Waratahs 18 vs 16 Rebels

 Rob Horne of the Waratahs beats the defence to score a try in the corner during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Rebels at ANZ Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Rob Horne of the Waratahs beats the defence to score a try in the corner during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Rebels at ANZ Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Three tries to one gave the Waratahs a nervous victory over the Rebels in the Sydney rain on Saturday, sneaking home by 18-16.

The Waratahs looked more than comfortable after the first half but the Rebels shored up their discipline and defended brilliantly after the break to pile on the pressure through the boot of Jack Debreczeni.

Rob Horne’s try was ultimately the difference on the scoreboard as Bernard Foley’s struggles off the kicking tee, with four misses, nearly cost his side.

Both teams joined together as part of a beautiful ceremony to mark ANZAC day before kickoff, with the crowd at ANZ Stadium in fine voice for the anthems and in perfect silence during the rendition of the Last Post.

Bernard Foley’s misses off the tee meant that the Waratahs only lead 13-3 at the interval after an inconsistent if not promising first half.

Elements of their play and their ambition early on were both excellent. Jacques Potgieter looked back to his best form with plenty of big carries and tackles as the Springbok imposed himself physically on the opposition.

That forward power was the key for the first try – as the Waratahs catch and drive worked well to put over their captain Michael Hooper for the opening score.

Hooper will have taken note of David Pocock’s hat-trick of rolling maul tries in the Brumbies win over the Highlanders and responded with a strong all-round performance in Sydney.

A penalty from Foley, his only successful attempt from four first-half kicks, stretched the home side’s advantage as the Rebels just couldn’t find a way into the contest.

Blessed with so many threats, the Waratahs were able to use decoy runners such as Will Skelton and Israel Folau to good effect, especially with the try for Adam Ashley-Cooper.

The veteran Wallaby did well to glide over after Michael Hooper’s break, when the Rebels tacklers had been drawn to other runners, as the Waratahs made it 13-0 with a super move, one of their best of the year.

Only by controlling their indiscipline would the Rebels have any hope of a comeback after Jack Debreczeni added a penalty for the visitors’ first points just before half-time.

Some wild passing from the Waratahs let down their attack at the start of the second half as Debreczeni attempted to knock over a second long-range from out wide and succeeded to make it 13-6.

The Rebels noticeably tightened up their defence with replacement Jordy Reid making a pair of crucial turnovers at the breakdown, as the Waratahs looked tired going through the phases.

Nervous faces on the Waratahs bench eluded to the Rebels growing dominance in the match as they thrived off the momentum.

Debreczeni added another excellent penalty to cut the deficit to four points before the Waratahs hit back with a try from Rob Horne.

The Wallaby back was on the end of the line as the Waratahs put it through the hands, with Horne finishing well in the corner under real pressure from three tacklers with the television match official confirming the score.

Conditions took a turn for the worse as the rain began to pour to make conditions and lineouts tricky affairs, as Rebels hooker Pat Leafa continued to struggle with his lineout throws.

Searching for a try bonus point to keep pace with the Brumbies the Waratahs pressed on against an aggressive Rebels defence.

Suddenly a try from Bryce Hegarty changed the whole dynamic of the final few minutes, after Mitch Inman’s break put the Rebels on the attack. Debreczeni’s conversion, an outstanding strike from on the touchline, made it 18-16 with only a few minutes to go as the visitors had a sniff of the win.

High tension in the final stages ended with the Rebels having a scrum after the hooter on halfway, with the way Debreczeni was kicking giving the Waratahs a real scare if the Rebels could pick up a penalty.

A frantic final passage ensued as the Rebels desperately looked for a breakthrough but they came up short as the Waratahs clung on.

Waratahs – 18
Tries: Rob Horne (59), Adam Ashley-Cooper (19), Michael Hooper (9)
Penalties: Bernard Foley (16)

Rebels – 16
Tries: Bryce Hegarty (73)
Penalties: Jack Debreczeni (57,49,39)
Con: Jack Debreczeni (74
Yellow Card: Sefanaia Naivalu


The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Mitch Chapman, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Matt Carraro, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Jordy Reid, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
Assistant Referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)




Super Rugby Result : Crusaders 29 v 15 Blues


Crusaders 29 v 15 Blues

Jordan Taufua of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Blues at AMI Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Jordan Taufua of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Blues at AMI Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Crusaders bounced back with a 29-15 triumph over the Blues were they were ahead from start to finish in Christchurch.

A passing masterclass was at the heart of the Crusaders success, with Nemani Nadolo the star of the show.

On a weekend where they had to win and ideally with four tries or more to have any hope of staying in the playoff hunt, the Crusaders came good.

It’s been a mixed campaign for the seven-time champions after a typical slow start, but their demolition job on the Sharks in Durban not so long ago proved to be a false dawn.

Playing as they did on Saturday however, albeit against a poor Blues outfit, they issued a reminder of how much talent they possess and also that doing the basics well is an undervalued quality.

Nadolo was the inspiration for both of the Crusaders first-half tries. The mere presence of the Fijian giant had the Blues defenders thinking twice before committing and he exploited it ruthlessly.

That first moment of hesitation enabled Nadolo to make space on his outside for Ryan Crotty, with the All Black centre showing great composure keeping the ball in two hands before releasing Mitchell Drummond on his inside as the scrum-half went over untouched for the first try in only the second minute of the match.

Knowing they had to bounce back after a disappointing few weeks, the Crusaders played with plenty of tempo and showed some excellent handling as they dominated territory.

Nadolo looked in for all money when he was released into space down the left touchline, but he showed some real subtlety by drawing in the last two defenders before a short pass put Jordan Taufua in for try number two.

The Crusaders were helped naturally by a fairly average Blues defence, with basic mistakes being made and more required from their senior players at half-back in Jimmy Cowan and Dan Bowden.

Those two tries had the Crusaders 14-0 up but they switched off defensively when Munster-bound Francis Saili perfectly hit a fine line cutting back on the defence and burst through for a simple but fine try.

Saili’s converted score and an earlier penalty from Bowden brought the Blues back into the contest, with Colin Slade’s three-pointer before half-time allowing the home side to settle down.

Nadolo though was unstoppable, setting up Tom Taylor for the third try after making something out of nothing.

Josh Bekhuis widely hacked the ball clear right into the hands of Taylor who shipped it onto Nadolo, who promptly beat Frank Halai down the outside and drew in the covering tackles before releasing Taylor with another brilliant offload.

Jamison Gibson-Park’s introduction was brief after he shown a yellow card for killing the ball with the Blues under pressure chasing back in their 22, with the Crusaders stepping up their hunt for a try bonus point.

Code Taylor delivered it after more sublime, patient handling from the Crusaders as they spread the ball from left to right to wrap up the result before 60 minutes.

All eyes on were on Richie McCaw after he appeared to suffer a concussion but as the Blues played on they constructed a well-worked score for Brendan O’Connor in the corner to keep the match alive to a degree, as McCaw left the field.

O’Connor’s try gave the Blues an injection of belief as they rolled out their bench, but long phases of possession didn’t yield any more points.

Persistent running from the likes of the impressive youngster Akira Ioane and Saili kept the Crusaders on their toes.

The final pass or breakthrough just wasn’t there for the Blues though, who slumped to a ninth loss of the season. The Crusaders meanwhile have just about kept their ambitions for the season alive with a necessary triumph.

Crusaders – 29
Tries: Codie Taylor (57),Tom Taylor (41), Jordan Taufua (15), Mitchell Drummond (2)
Penalties: Colin Slade (39)
Drops: none
Cons: Colin Slade (42,16,3)

Blues – 15
Tries: Brendon O”Connor (64), Francis Saili (31)
Penalties: Dan Bowden (21)
Drops: none
Cons: Dan Bowden (32)


The teams:

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 David Havili, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden,9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Tevita Li.

Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Kane McBride; Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Chris Wratt