The Crusaders advanced to the Super Rugby semi-finals on Friday morning, as they beat the Highlanders 38-14 in Christchurch.
Although there was a 24 points difference in the match, it was really a game of two halves as the Sader’s only lead 17-14 at the break.
The Highlanders surprisingly crossed the white line first thanks to Sio Tomkinson in the 16th minute and then in the 21 minute the Sader’s got their first try, David Havili scoring under the posts,
Seven minutes later, Richie Mo’unga went over in the corner and then Teihorangi Walden made it a three point game.
The second the Crusaders started the match with an absolute bang and wracked up many phases in the opening minutes. The match arguably flipped on its head when Liam Squire was yellow carded for a silly shoulder tackle.
This opened things up for Crusaders, and they scored two tries in the time Squire was off to extend their lead to 31-14 after 57 minutes.
The home side continued piling the pressure onto the Highlanders and when the Mo’unga latched onto a wonderful kick to score his second in the 68th minutes the match was pretty much done and dusted.
The Crusaders are still unbeaten at home in the competition and will now host a semi-final either against the Hurricanes or the Bulls.
Top performers Crusaders v Highlanders:
Richie Mo'unga: sensational performance a constant threat with ball in hand and electric in attack. Controlled the game tactically. His efforts were rewarded with two tries. Slotted a perfect 6/6 off the kicking tee bringing his points tally to 23 points in the match.
Richie Mo'unga v the Highlanders 📊— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) June 21, 2019
6⃣4⃣ Running metres
0⃣1⃣ Try assist
He has equalled @DanCarter's record for the most points scored in a #SuperRugby finals match 🔥 #CRUvHIG pic.twitter.com/N7LlTMdisF
Crusaders pack: completely dominant at scrum time earning numerous penalties to ensure they played in the right areas of the field. Also, mauled over after a powerful drive.
Jackson Hemopo: tremendous work rate with some strong carries. Was denied a try after a double movement and was also held up over the line another time.