Super Rugby Aotearoa: Top Five Players Of The Day

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Top Five Players Of The Day

The Crusaders extended their unbeaten run at home to 36 with a 26-15 victory over the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday.

A match played at a test match like tempo in front of a packed crowd in Christchurch lived up to its billing with both sides throwing absolutely everything they had at one another.

The Blues looked as if they could seal their first victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch since 2004 but Scott Robertson's side had other ideas thanks two late tries - the first from Mitchell Drummond and the second from Will Jordan.

Here are our top five players from the action in Christchurch:

Richie Mo'unga - Crusaders

A below-par first half from the All Black first five was quickly forgotten as he dominated the second and inspired his side to victory.

Mo'unga was quiet in the first half for the hosts with two missed kicks to touch but managed to nail his attempts from the tee.

But in the second he came to live pinning Beauden Barrett and the rest of the Blues' back three with some excellent kicks into the Blues' 22.

After Braydon Ennor's charge down on Otere Black's conversion attempt, Mo'unga quickly got his side firing again with a brilliantly taken and regathered short kick off.

Although the Blues managed to turn the ball over and clear. Mo'unga's actions sparked his side to live.

He stepped up to complete an excellent pass to George Bridge down the left-hand side with the latter putting Mitchell Drummond through for the hosts first try of the game with Mo'unga nailing the conversion. He claimed a try assist with a great pass to Will Jordan with the in-form outside back sealing the victory for his side.

An excellent game from the All Blacks' pivot who was snubbed by his peers in a vote for the best New Zealand first five earlier this week.

Codie Taylor - Crusaders

The Crusaders pride their game around a strong set-piece and although three of Taylor's darts went the other way, the All Black rake was excellent.

His back battled hard in an excellent battle upfront while Taylor was all over the pitch and was the only man to make more than 10 carries and 10 tackles in the encounter.

His 35 running metres pinned the Blues back while he was strong at the breakdown winning a turnover for his side.

Dalton Papali'i - Blues

Already an All Black, Dalton Papali'i topped the tackle count in the encounter with 13 in an hour and was sorely missed when he departed the pitch.

His tackles were mostly dominant and was unlucky to be on the wrong end of a few calls from referee Paul Williams.

He competed at the ruck well once again and looks more and more impressive with each passing week and the game against the Crusaders was no different.

George Bridge - Crusaders

Bridge was voted as New Zealand's best winger in a vote by his peers earlier this week and he showed exactly why in the clash with the Blues.

He was excellent in the air and had another never die attitude in every facet of the game. 

Some may feel Scott Robertson took the wrong winger off when Will Jordan replaced Sevu Reece but Bridge repaid his coach's faith in him linking up brilliantly with Mo'unga and Drummond for his side's first try.

He missed a tackle early on but recovered to make a probable try saver on Mark Telea. Bridge was solid in every aspect of the game for the Crusaders.

Mark Telea - Blues

Got his side going with a well finished try out wide from a scrum. 

His work wasn't done from there has he continued to be an absolute nightmare to defend and racked up 67 running metres beating three defenders.

He also made a few big hits. 

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