Crusaders return to top of table following 24-32 win over Blues

Sonny Bill Williams ended on the losing side
Sonny Bill Williams ended on the losing side

Blues 24-32 Crusaders, Eden Park

A dominant first-half performance saw Crusaders then overcome Blues with a 24-32 triumph in their Super Rugby encounter at Eden Park on Saturday.

Crusaders now have 10 wins from 12 games as they returned to the top of the New Zealand Conference while Blues languish at the bottom.

Richie Mo'unga and Jack Goodhue combined brilliantly before the latter made a grubber kick to find George Bridge for the opening try for Blues in the third minute. Mo'unga slotted the conversion to take the scoreline 7-0. The response from Blues came when Rieko Ioane set an attacking run and eventually Matt Duffie crossed over to reduce the gap to two points.

Crusaders dominated the proceedings with tries from Quinten Strange (22') and Matt Todd (31') with Mo'unga kicking a conversion and a penalty goal to make it 5-22. As the half time was approaching, Rieko Ioane helped Blues pull back things with a 38th minute try but his efforts were negated when Bryn Hall scored a try of his own and the teams headed into the break with a 12-29 scoreline.

The second half started with a bit of setback for the Crusaders when Strange was sin-binned in the 46th minute for a dangerous challenge on Jerome Kaino and two minutes later Reiko with his second reduced the arrears to 10 points.

Mo'unga restored 13 points lead for Crusaders in the 54th minute and despite a consolation try from Michael Collins in the 64th minute, Blues fell short by eight points.

Super Rugby 2019 Points Table