Crusaders know-how holds Jaguares at bay
Saturday, July 6, 2019 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
It wasn't a classic Crusaders display, it was a final after all, but what shone was their ability to withstand pressure and when it mattered, they turned it back on the Jaguares. It was also the perfect farewell for long-serving Crusaders like: Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Ryan Crotty and Jordan Taufua.
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Facing determined rush defence from the Jaguares, who in the tradition of challengers played the more attacking rugby as they probed for chances, the Crusaders battled for fluidity in their game. They faced an early battle in the scrums before gaining control later in the first half while the backs struggled with their handling both with the slippery ball and the line pressure from the Argentinians.
The visitors tried everything and had an outstanding example set by flanker Pablo Matera, a veritable workhorse and chosen man of the match, while lock Tomas Lavanini was a presence in the tight as was hooker Agustin Creevy. And while Matias Moroni always looked dangerous, the lack of finish proved costly while first five-eighths Joaquin Diaz Bonilla was not pinpoint in the accuracy of his tactical kicking.
The first half required 67 tackles of the Crusaders, 20 more than the Jaguares were required to make and by the end of the game they put in 132 to 94 while the visitors employed 32 kicks to 25 but for the 55 percent possession advantage they enjoyed the Jaguares couldn't make it count on the scoreboard.
Both sides employed kicks as they probed for advantage and while there was an early penalty goal for Diaz Bonilla in the 14th minute when halfback Bryn Hall was offside, it was the Crusaders who scored the first try.
?? The winning moment ??
?? @skysportnz pic.twitter.com/kVH9o5DR2M— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 6, 2019
The Crusaders were only able to escape their own half when from a scrum in their own 22m Hall ran the ball into a gap and it was cleared through the backs downfield, worked infield where Creevy played the ball on the ground and Mo'unga kicked the penalty goal to give the defending champions a 10-3 lead.
Crusaders scrum power started to take effect, leaking penalties out of the Jaguares and that allowed the home team to apply their own pressure. Having distintegrated the Jaguares scrum in front of their own posts, the Crusaders caught them napping by reversing their intent to kick to the corner and attempting a tap penalty.
Todd was carried over the line but referee Jaco Peyper couldn't see a grounding due to a Jaguares defender got a leg beneath the ball.
But more scrum power soon resulted in another penalty from which Mo'unga made no mistake. He added his third penalty goal five minutes later, in the 58th when the Jaguares were caught offside.
Desperate to get back within striking distance the Jaguares replacement first five-eighths Domingo Miotti put a kick in-goal but it was too deep and Moroni wasn't able to get there before it went over the deadball line. It proved their last chance as the Crusaders wrapped up the opportunities.
Results: Crusaders 19 (Codie Taylor tries; Richie Mo'unga con, 4 pen) Jaguares 3 (Joaquin diaz Bonilla pen). HT: 10-3
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