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Crusaders give Jaguares a rugby lesson

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Saturday, April 7, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

If ever there were 40 minutes that demonstrated the absolute requirement to take chances offered, the Crusaders provided a basic first half lesson for the Jaguares.

In spite of having to make only 31 tackles compared to 68, carrying for 72 metres to 43 by the Crusaders and winning 54 rucks to 30 to enjoy a 60 percent possession advantage, the home team found themselves down 0-19 at halftime.

When they had opportunities the Crusaders were ruthless.

They followed that with an even more emphatic lesson 66 minutes into the game after a series of scrums out from their own line.

Coach Scott Robertson made a bold call to substitute two of his front row with hooker Ben Funnell and prop Donald Brighouse coming on and delivering the scrum resistance which saw the Crusaders unsettle the Jaguares scrum. The home dropped the ball and the Crusaders pounced with first five-eighths Mitchell Hunt sending the ball into open space in the Jaguares' 22m.

The ball wasn't cleared and when the attempted kick was made second five-eighths Ryan Crotty charged it down and regathered the ball to score in the corner.

Then from the restart a kick downfield by replacement halfback Mitchell Drummond was not held by left wing Emiliano Boffelli and Crusaders right wing Manasa Mataele gathered the rebound to race 50m for his second try.

It broke the home side's resistance finally and the Crusaders were able to apply the finishing to their instruction manual.

Their first case study occurred seven minutes into the game, after a strong midfield break by Crotty where the Jaguares failed to secure ball in the tackle and the ball where hooker Codie Taylor tidied the action creating a chance.

Halfback Bryn Hall spied George Bridge with space on the left wing and flung a long pass which allowed the wing to dive over in the corner.



The Jaguares mounted another strong surge at the Crusaders line, one of several , including a 29-phase build-up, in the first half but a missed pass went to ground where Bridge swooped to secure the ball and light out 70m for the try in the 13th minute.

Again the Jaguares poured onto attack but were unable to find a way through the opposition, in spite of the best efforts of first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez, fullback Joaquin Tuculet and second five-eighths Bautista Ezcurra.

Instead, it was an unnecessary no arms tackle by serial offender, lock Tomas Lavanini, that created another opportunity for the Crusaders to dish out another example of their finishing.

Kicking to the 22m area, the Crusaders worked a lineout move with flanker Tom Sanders taking the ball at the front of the lineout, transferring it to flanker Matt Todd who fed Taylor on the double round from the front of the lineout. He ran infield where blindside wing Mataele burst onto the ball and through a tackle to score a spectacular try.

Time to discuss the lesson provided the prescription for the Jaguares as they worked a lineout maul to advantage to get into the Crusaders' 22m area where the ball was moved with fullback Joaquin Tuculet crossing for a 43rd minute try.

That set in train some third quarter scoring ping-pong as the Crusaders employed an immediate response tactic when they won a ruck in midfield after a strong carry by lock Luke Romano. His momentum provided ball which saw centre Tim Bateman throw a long pass to Mataele who pushed off his marker Boffelli, Sanchez and then in Tuculet's tackle, he passed inside to Hunt who scored in the 45th minute.

The Jaguares introduced substitute Ramiro Moyano and he ran onto ball from halfback Gonzalo Bertanou, after his break, and then linked with Tuculet, Ezcurra who ran down the sideline to fling the ball inside where Boffelli took the ball to score.

But in the end it was Crusaders defence that triumphed to deny the home side any consolation in the final stages.

Scorers: Jaguares 14 (Joaquin Tuculet, Emiliano Boffelli tries; Nicolas Sanchez 2 con) Crusaders 40 (George Bridge 2, Manasa Mataele 2, Mitchell Hunt, Ryan Crotty tries; Hunt 4 con; Mike Delany con). HT: 0-19