Crusaders’ outside finals hopes now depends on the Rebels beating the Drua tomorrow after an easy win v Moana Pasifika tonight

by Sports Benches

Moana Pasifika might have taken advantage of the opposition team’s slow start but it’s the Crusaders who has been smashing it to fill the first half’s play 26-10 off the back of Codie Taylor’s double TRY as well one from Ethan Blackadder and Ryan Crotty (his last home game) on top of a few successive kicking conversions by the outgoing Fergus Burke (England bound later this year to Saracens).Nothing much was going on after half-time other than more continued Crusaders dominance at last like it was before following a transitional and difficult season. Tries coming from Noah Notham, Dallas McLeod and Macca Stringer helped extend their lead to 43 points while Moana were unable to turn things around at all. The final score belongs to the Crusaders fair and square to wrap up the regular season 43-10 v Moana Pasifika at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch. 

Ethan Blackadder even though he had some injury troubles before wasn’t shy at all by physically smashing the Moana Pasifika on the openside Crusaders No.7 tonight in Christchurch. He was simply doing the hard years every time the winning penalties & possession gave him a chance to help open that door & fish those big points including one for him while Ethan kept a great eye as being tested defensively. The good news is that he will stick around next year alongside several now first year group of youngsters & continue to be at their best like it was before that produced lots of silverware. Looking ahead to the future and let’s hope the Crusaders can keep on rebuilding to hopefully be No.1 again is 21-year-old left winger Macca Stringer. Sure he has learnt a lot from the likes of Sevu Reece & Johnny McNicholl with lots of energy to burn and seeing him picking up the pieces to process the TRY off McNicholl later in the 2nd half was unbelievable. As said, it’s not easy settling in right away when so many big players move on as it does take time before going next level. However, he’s the next best thing to come out the Crusaders talent factory – look out for him in 2025 & maybe a bit longer if he keeps on improving well for the All Blacks shirt.

For now, we’ll wait and see if the Rebels can give them a second chance tomorrow for next week’s finals as long as they can beat the Fijian Drua away in Suva. And Lotu Inisi continues to showcase his magic for the Moana Pasifika No.8 jersey, even though it wasn’t an easy night as a whole team when the Crusaders were too good. He was so onto it with the ball every time including earlier in the first half off a winning penalty line-out before he threw an unreal inside pass to his brother Fine (both tall & quick!) & there you go with the TRY! Shame they couldn’t stop the Saders in its tracks while picking up plenty of ill-discipline as Moana have improved in some way on their third year even though there’s still a long way to go to be Top 6-8.

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