Super Rugby

Super Rugby Notebook, May 28: Comeback sends Crusaders top, Brumbies thrash Sunwolves

Crusaders mounted a second-half comeback against Blues to move to the top of the Super Rugby standings, while Brumbies thrashed Sunwolves.

With Chiefs slipping up against Waratahs on Friday, Crusaders took full advantage with the boot of Richard Mo'unga, who supplied 17 points, proving pivotal in a 26-21 victory over Blues.

However, coach Todd Blackadder believes there is still plenty of room for improvement from the leaders.

"It's fantastic because a lot of effort has gone in but it doesn't feel like that," he said.

"It's just another game and there's a few more to go yet but it's good to go in knowing there's still a lot we can fix and work on."

Sunwolves suffered a mauling at the hands of Brumbies in Sydney, while Lions picked up an impressive away win at Bulls and Stormers edged out Cheetahs.

 

THE LOWDOWN

Blues 21-26 Crusaders

A 13-point haul for Ihaia West was not enough to stop Crusaders leaving Eden Park with a huge victory. The fly-half converted George Moala's try on the stroke of half-time having already touched down and successfully kicked a penalty beforehand, but the efforts of Mo'unga turned the game around and gave Todd Blackadder's team the win.

Brumbies 66-5 Sunwolves

Stephen Moore and Nigel Ah Wong each ran in two of Brumbies' 10 tries in a crushing victory over Sunwolves – their second biggest defeat of the season. The Australian side led 28-0 at the interval, with Akihito Yamada's score for the visitors proving to be scant consolation.

Stormers 31-24 Cheetahs

After almost letting a 12-point lead slip in the second half, Stormers managed to bring an end to three matches without a victory against their South African rivals in Cape Town. In a fiery match, Cheetahs touched down through Paul Schoeman and Sergeal Petersen but were unable to complete a comeback.

Bulls 20-56 Lions

A first home defeat for Bulls came in crushing fashion, with Lions securing a sixth win from their last seven matches to enter the international break on a high. The hosts fell behind early on and never looked like recovering, with Rohan Janse van Rensburg bagging a double.

 

THE KEY MOMENTS

With Stormers' advantage over Cheetahs cut to just three points in the 60th minute, the next try would be crucial. Jacobus van Wyk was the man to get it just four minutes later, and from there Cheetahs showed no sign of coming again.

Blues lost their advantage just after the hour-mark when Mo'unga converted Andrew Ellis' try, and the 22-year-old fly-half added a pair of penalties to put Crusaders out of reach.

THE REACTION

"He's just one of those guys that works hard every day on his game. He likes taking it to the line and he looks nice and calm. He's just steering the ship. He's also brave and puts his body on the line in the contact - that's what I love about him," said Blackadder about match-winner Mo'unga.

"The guys who came on finished well so it’s a nice result for us going into the international break," said Moore following Brumbies' thumping win.

THE UPSHOT

Crusaders' triumph enabled them to move three points clear of Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference, while Brumbies displaced Waratahs in pole position in the Australia conference.