Back to bottom for Blues

By Jamie Wall
Crusaders player Bryn Hall heads to the try line for the first try of the game. Photo/Sky Sports

On paper, an eight-point loss to the Crusaders isn’t something to be too ashamed of in Super Rugby. But rugby isn’t played on paper, and the 19-11 result in Christchurch really was one to forget for the Blues.

In fact, it was one to forget for the Crusaders, the referee and pretty much anyone who had the misfortune of watching it as well. This was an awful game of rugby, marred by scrum resets and errors from start to finish.

There were only two tries in the whole game, both against the run of play. After two penalties by Richie Mo’unga, the Crusaders added a lucky score under the posts by Bryn Hall that came from a kick through that was gathered by Ryan Crotty.

The Blues hit back with a penalty to young first five Harry Plummer, and the teams went into the sheds at halftime with 10 points separating them. It didn’t tell the real story, though, the Blues barely got anywhere near the Crusaders’ 22, and the home side blew a number of opportunities.

Both forward packs spent plenty of time resetting their scrums, as referee Mike Fraser struggled to assert his dominance on that area. Both backlines seemed content to simply kick the ball to one another, due to the slippery conditions.

The second half saw Mo’unga add another couple of penalties, before Rieko Ioane scored an admittedly nice try with eight minutes remaining. He almost blew it, though, with an extravagant dive meaning the grounding had to be checked upstairs.

The result means the Blues fall to last place in the NZ Conference, behind the Chiefs who won last night against the Reds. The Crusaders have now cracked 50 competition points, however, their form over the last few weeks may well be giving the chasing sides the feeling that they aren’t quite so invincible after all.

Crusaders 19 (B Hall try; R Mo’unga 4 pen, con)

Blues 11 (R Ioane try; H Plummer 3 pen)

Half-time 13-3