Super Rugby 2024 Week 9, Crusaders still not up to it in their rebuilding phase as Western Force walk home with a huge win at HBF Park

by Sports Benches

Week 9 of the 2024 Super Rugby Season ended with the battle of the bottom feeders before all 12 teams will be back on the road to finish off the regular season – Western Force v Crusaders at HBF Park. Crusaders fired off early as always with their strong starts but Force filled most of the first half up with some good momentum going into the break 15-5. Yes, the Crusaders have their moments at times where they thought they were back on track but then half of the side isn’t still up to it as the Force went on to extend their lead including a couple more not long before full-time with a huge win in Perth 37-15.

The man who kept a great eye on the Crusaders’ struggles tonight is Izack Rodda after he made an instant impact off the Western Force bench unexpectedly early on the second row with so much powerful physical straits to lock them down both ways in attack and defense. It led to so many things going his team’s way where the Force made the most out of their opportunities with a good first-half lead followed by an extraordinary 2nd half performance in front of the home supporters as great to see him back in Super Rugby through his previous years with the Reds after a tough last 1-2 years due to injury.

Next up is Ben Donaldson – another key Force player looking to make No.10 on his own every week – having had some inconsistencies before with the Waratahs over the last few years and also for at Wallabies lnternatonally. His kicking game looks near 100% for a start when adding the extra points off the back of the Crusaders’ poor discipline and defense; he’s also able to stretch his attack across the pitch which was another factor to the Force getting past the opposition on the counter attack with numbers on the board and can spot them being isolated which reflects his good defensive awareness all around.

Great to have the wealth of experience alongside a great coach (Simon Cron) & the goal now is to get some winning momentum from here for an outside Top 8 push starting with the Highlanders in Dunedin next Saturday.

And Sevu Reece holds the glue in the Crusaders dressing room where he just became the leading TRY scorer (53) which was an enormous achievement from the wide right. They are so grateful for his explosive pace and most importantly the experience on offer as he still has unfinished business at 27 having returned from a long-term knee injury at the start of this season. But in the meantime it’s just him running the show alone when the forwards simply weren’t on par that led to a pile of discipline and defensive mistakes as well as missed opportunities that isolated him and his backline & the current No.10 didn’t do much good either – looks like the Top 8 chances now looking near nigh now where things will be even harder before they will have to sit out the Finals for the first time in 2024 with the Melbourne Rebels next up at home in Christchurch on Friday.

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