Match Centre: Crusaders 29-21 Western Force

Scott Barrett captained Crusaders to another victory
Scott Barrett captained Crusaders to another victory
©Steve Haag

Crusaders 29-21 Force, Orangetheory Stadium

Crusaders managed to hold off Western Force in the fourth round of Super Rugby Trans Tasman as they secured a 29-21 win at Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday.

Despite the victory, Crusaders are at second place with 18 points while Force are at eighth position after losing all their four matches.

Force got off to a fantastic start with Jake Strachan and Richard Kahui setting up winger Toni Pulu over the line in the third minute and Domingo Miotti kicked the conversion to make it 7-0. The scores were levelled by the 13th minute when Braydon Ennor set out a grubber kick for Manasa Mataele dotted down at Fergus Burke kicked the extras.

Crusaders went into the lead for the first time in the 20th minute when Will Jordan scored the first of his two tries as he dived in the corner but Burke missed the conversion as the scoreline became 12-7. Around the half-hour mark, Crusaders extended their lead further with this time Whetu Douglas scoring his first Super Rugby try.

With the break approaching, Ollie Callan and Sione Havili Talitui traded tries as the opening half ended with a 24-14 scoreline.

The New Zealand side were the quickest to get off the block when Bryn Hall made a perfect pass for Jordan to crossover for his second in the game in the 47th minute making it 29-14. Force looked to exert pressure on the Crusaders, who held their defence tight and the visitors had a chance with Oliver Jager looking good to score before Burke's boot rescued the home side.

With just a minute left in the game, Force managed to snatch a bonus point from Crusaders as when Godwin's offload was seized by Jordan Olowofela on his way over but that could not prevent the Australian side from losing their fourth straight game.

Team line up:

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga'anuku, 10 Fergus Burke, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tamaiti Williams.

Reserves: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Isileli Tu'ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Josh McKay.

Western Force: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Ollie Callan, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu'u, 1 Tom Robertson.

Reserves: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Warner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Tim Anstee, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jack McGregor, 23 Jordan Olowofela.