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Series 2, Episode 1 Thirsty Bird 01 Sep 14 00:53:52

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As it happened: Crusaders v Reds

Published: 3:31PM Sunday May 06, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Full-time: Crusaders 15-11 Reds
The Crusaders take the points after never looking in control throughout this close grinding contest.

The Reds take a bonus point home with them after producing a dynamic display that had the Crusaders looking dis-jointed and out-enthused.

Numerous errors compounded things for the Crusaders as they battled for territory and possession yet they did enjoy set-peice dominance and showed the steel to secure the result when it mattered.

The Crusaders will know they were fortunate to hang on for the win and have a week to rectify things before they play the Rebels in Melbourne next weekend.

The Reds face another tough battle against the Chiefs in Hamilton and it will be interesting to see if they can shrug off the disappointment from this loss and produce another inspired performance.

Tune in again to tvnz.co.nz's live scoring updates next Friday from 7pm for the Blues v Lions clash at Eden Park.

76mins Crusaders 15-11 Reds
Crusaders penalty - yet another ruck infringement from the Reds allows Taylor to close the game out with another penalty kick extending their lead to four points.

72mins Crusaders 12-11 Reds
Crusaders penalty - Liam Gill was caught with his hands in the ruck ghifting Taylor the opportunity to edge the Crusaders back in front with just six minutes remaining...

55mins Crusaders 9-11 Reds
Sin-Bin - Crusaders reserve prop Wyatt Crockett gets 10 minutes for not using his arms in a tackle. Harris adds the three as the lead changes hands once more.

45mins Crusaders 9-8 Reds
The Crusaders regain the one-point lead with another Taylor penalty after the Reds were caught offside.

43mins Crusaders 6-8 Reds
Reds penalty - Harris regains the lead for the visitors when Tom Taylor was penalised for not releasing.

Crusaders substitution - Richie McCaw has entered the fray with Matt Todd going to the bench .

41mins Crusaders 6-5 Reds
Tom Taylor kicks-off the second-half for the Crusaders!

Half-time: Crusaders 6-5 Reds
The Crusaders have done well to resist a motivated Reds outfit who threw everything at them in a tight first-half.

After notching their first try in the second minute, The Reds carried on their strong start with their forwards getting to the breakdown in numbers and being aggressive in contact, with opensider and  Australian Under 20's captain Liam Gill proving effective in pilfering possession.

Tom Taylor's boot has proved vital for the home side who have found the Reds defence resolute in the face of some tough examinations from the Crusaders outside backs.

The Reds commitment on their own line prevented both Crusaders winger Zac Guildford and No. 8 and captain Kieran Read from scoring, and on a third attempt at a try, the Reds counter-rucked to win the ball allowing Harris to clear them out of trouble.

Although they have struggled for territory and possession, the Crusaders will be confident going in to the second-half. With the wind at their backs and having enjoyed dominance at the set-piece they should be able to ease past this committed Reds outfit.

Stay tuned for what should be a thrilling second-half!

29mins Crusaders 6-5 Reds
Sam Whitelock was penalised for being off his feet at a ruck handing the Reds a penalty shot at goal but Harris' kick was off to the left. The last 15 minutes have been a real grind with both sides producing some good attack and strong defence.

27mins Crusaders 6-5 Reds
Reds substitution - Ben Lucas has departed after his head was cut open by a boot sprig while he was attempting to make a tackle. Mike Harris has moved into the five-eighth role.

25mins Crusaders 6-5 Reds
Reds five-eighth Ben Lucas was caught for coming in to a ruck from the side handing Tom Taylor another chance at goal. The normally reliable sharp-shooter was off target on this ocassion letting the visitors off the hook.

20mins Crusaders 6-5 Reds
Crusaders penalty - Taylor puts his side ahead after the Reds frontrow were caught for angling in at a scrum.

7mins Crusaders 3-5 Reds
Crusaders penalty - Tom Taylor is on target with his shot at goal after the Reds were penalised for a high tackle.

2mins Crusaders 0-5 Reds
TRY! The Reds get off to a dream start with hooker James Hanson barging over from close range for the opening try. From the kick-off the Reds were able to regain possession and immediately went on the attack. Several phases later Hanson snuck round the back of a ruck to push over the line to score. Mike Harris' conversion misses to the left.

0mins Crusaders 0-0 Reds
Mike Harris of the Reds kicks-off to get things under way at AAMI Stadium!

Pre-match

The Reds can expect a parochial Christchurch welcome as the seven-time champions look to avenge last year's final defeat.

Queensland are at long odds to score a fourth straight win over the Crusaders but are looking to carry on the momentum gained from their last round 23-11 win over the Blues.

The return of the Faingaa twins beefs up both their backline and front-row stocks and the only cavalry member left to appear is Quade Cooper.

The Reds must cope with the home side's powerful scrum and also shut down Robbie Fruean in the midfield.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is in line for a run-on start after his 20-minute return in the 37-33 win over NSW last Sunday.

The Crusaders will want to pay close attention to Reds halfback Will Genia who is the key to his sides play. Set piece dominance is crucial and a strong defensive line will help to limit Genia's options..

Both teams are currently sitting third in their respective Super Rugby conferences but a win today is important for the Crusaders as they need to keep the heat on the Chiefs and Highlanders in the New Zealand group.

Stand by for kick-off just after 4pm!

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