by Sports Benches

Looking back from Super Saturday yesterday, what a contest it has been by the Top 2 Super Rugby sides that went down the wire between Blues & Crusaders in a grand final rematch of last season at Eden Park (Auckland). Blues may have the opening say & did continue scoring but the Crusaders didn’t waste any time with a couple of big points on the board where they hold a small lead at the break (21-24). Crusaders continued to extend their lead while Blues never gave up at the doorstep in the hope of revenge later on (2nd half), but the Blues sadly couldn’t see it out with a six-point loss (27-34) as the reigning Super Rugby champions got away unscathed on their turf once again.

Unlucky to see the Blues being denied with two potential late tries that could’ve seen them not only get payback, but also see the reigning champions lose another game as well. They fired off really well with Mark Talea on the board for the first five-pointer of the night. Now the Blues replied to the Saders’ well with another TRY or two, even though they’re only a few points behind at the break. Although their 2nd half attack effort was very threatening where they’re still in the mix all long, but sadly the Blues were not just unlucky, but also couldn’t get past the Saders where pressure piled them up massively before it’s too late by the full-time siren. They might have an easy game next Sunday at home again v Western Force, but if there’s one thing they can improve to go one better then it will be adding a bit more execution so things won’t go wrong for them next time.

And it’s great to see the Crusaders back on track once again following their one-point defeat (25-24) last weekend v Fijian Drua. They know how to get the job done, even though the Saders may not have struck the first blow of points. The way they structure out their attack before making these conversions is exceptional as always where they managed to build a good lead ahead of half-time. Now they might have been under threat by the improving Blues attack from their end later in the 2nd half, but they defended really well including when the Saders stuffed them out with the ball which saw the ref not approve with back-to-back cancelled tries. And that gave the Saders a sigh of relief when they held off with another win at Eden Park, just like the Final last year where they took home the Super Rugby title. Now they just need to watch their discipline on top of a good defense & attack if the Saders are to end the Brumbies unbeaten start to their 2023 campaign on Friday night in C’Church.

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