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As it happened: Crusaders v Highlanders

Published: 7:13PM Saturday April 20, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

  • Israel Dagg in action for the Crusaders. (Source: Photosport)
    Israel Dagg in action for the Crusaders. - Source: Photosport

Christchurch has put on a wild night for the great Southern derby.

Fulltime Crusaders 24-8 Highlanders
And that is that. It hasn't been an easy watch, but the Crusaders deserve their win after bullying the Highlanders all night and accumulating points when they could.

77min Crusaders 24-8 Highlanders
Game over as Tom Taylor scores after the Crusaders' 12 minute occupation of the Highlanders' 22. Eventually they were able to spread the ball wide and Taylor broke through a couple of tackles to score.

64min Crusaders 19-8 Highlanders
Terrific first nudge of the night from Colin Slade gets three points for the Highlanders. Not sure why they're kicking goals at this stage to be fair. They still need to score two tries, obviously have no confidence in their woeful lineout.

61min Crusaders 19-5 Highlanders
The TMO checks for a possible Crusaders' try from close range. After an eternity, it's eventually ruled to be a double movement. Heroic defence from the Highlanders to get out of jail there.

53min Crusaders 19-5 Highlanders
Easy pickings for the Crusaders as Tyler Bleyendaal slots his fourth penalty of the evening.

46min Crusaders 16-5 Highlanders
The Manawatu 1-2 comes through with a try for the Highlanders as Aaron Smith sets up Turbos team-mate Jason Emery. Some good build up work after TJ Ioane took a quick tap finished with Smith throwing an excellent cut-out ball to Emery in the corner. Parker almost converts from the sideline, but it just hits the posts.

Half-time Crusaders 16-0 Highlanders
The Crusaders finally break down the Highlanders' defence as Robbie Fruean crosses for a try on the stroke of half-time. Andrew Hore looked to have held him up, but Fruean did remarkably well to get the ball on the turf. Bleyendaal converts. The Crusaders should be pretty happy after that dominant effort. The Highlanders will have the wind at their backs in the second half and will need to make the most of it. Shoring up their set piece should be Jamie Joseph's priority.

31min Crusaders 9-0 Highlanders
Bleyendaal keeps the scoreboard ticking with another penalty. On that occasion Tony Ensor tried to counter attack, but was steamrolled by two Whitelocks, allowing the Crusaders to blow over and win the penalty.

29min Crusaders 6-0 Highlanders
Zac Guildford almost goes over for a try, but he grounds the ball short of the line and Robbie Fruean was possibly running interference as well. The referee goes back to a penalty against Tony Woodcock for collapsing a scrum and Bleyendaal adds three more.

22min Crusaders 3-0 Highlanders
A bit more niggle on the park and Wyatt Crockett is penalised for taking out a player late and off the ball. He doesn't like the call and the Crusaders' get off the hook because Hayden Parker can't kick the penalty. Owen Franks returns to the field for the Crusaders.

15min Crusaders 3-0 Highlanders
Finally the Crusaders get some return for their dominance. They steal the Highlanders' ball from the lineout to get back on attack. From there Andrew Hore was harshly penalised and Bleyendaal was able to knock it over.

12min Crusaders 0-0 Highlanders
Owen Franks has cost the Crusaders after being caught swinging punches at Jarrad Hoeata. The assistant referees picked it up and video evidence confirmed it. Really takes the pressure off the Highlanders after a tough start.

9min Crusaders 0-0 Highlanders
The game so far has been played almost entirely in the Highlanders' 22. The Crusaders have been unable to take advantage so far, with that final pass just not sticking. Tyler Bleyendaal had a chance to kick for goal, but couldn't negotiate the tricky wind.


The ninth-placed Crusaders can't afford to let too many more games slip if they are to make the finals for a 12th straight year.

A resilient Force defence denied them a win last week, but they should encounter little trouble against the winless Highlanders. Although Dan Carter is still injured, the Crusaders welcome back All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock and openside flanker Matt Todd to the starting line-up, with Zac Guildford named on the wing.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph is under the pump following seven straight losses, and the Crusaders are likely to heap even more misery on the struggling franchise.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock (c), Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett.

Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Adam Whitelock.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Tony Ensor, Jason Emery, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Aaron Smith, TJ Ioane, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Andrew Hore (captain), Tony Woodcock.

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Ma'afu Fia, Jamie Mackintosh, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaka Tanaka, Colin Slade, Jake Paringatai.