Match Centre: Super Rugby Pacific: Fijian Drua 20-10 Crusaders

Sevu Reece's try went in vain for Crusaders
Sevu Reece's try went in vain for Crusaders
©Steve Haag

Fijian Drua 20-10 Crusaders, Churchill Park

Crusaders' losing start in the ongoing Super Rugby Pacific campaign continued as they were defeated by Fijian Drua 20-10 in the latest round at Churchill Park on Saturday.

This is the first time since 1996 the Crusaders have lost their first three games of the season as Rob Penney will be desperate to turn things around after taking over from Scott Robertson.

Crusaders now are positioned 11th in the table after losing all their three games while Fijian Drua will have their morale boosted after beating the 12-time champions.

The visitors were the first to open their account as the Fiji side were penalised for an offside and Taha Kemara landed a penalty goal at a 40m distance to start the proceedings for the Crusaders.

They further extended the lead as Sevu Reece completed his 50th Super Rugby try after collecting an inside pass from Levi Aumua and Kemara kicked the conversion in front of the posts to make it 0-10 before Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula kicked a penalty goal at a 35m distance to open the account for the Drua.

The Fijian Drua gathered further momentum and belief as Frank Lomani fired a long pass for Selestino Ravutaumada to touchdown and Armstrong-Ravula kicked the extras to level the scores. Kemara had a chance to take the Crusaders into lead heading into the break but his penalty goal drifted wide as the teams completed the opening half with a 10-10 scoreline.

Fijian Drua exerted early pressure on Crusaders in the second half as Lomani burrowed from close range with Armstrong-Ravula improving to make it 17-10. Dom Gardiner looked deadly to score for the Crusaders but had a knock on as he was looking to go over as the visitors continued to remain scoreless in the second half.

Any chance of a comeback from Crusaders was put off as Moody was penalised at a breakdown which Armstrong-Ravula kicked to perfection sealing a 20-10 victory for the hosts.

Team line up:

Crusaders: Chay Fihaki, Sevu Reece, Levi Aumua, David Havili, Heremaia Murray, Taha Kemara, Willi Heinz, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Dominic Gardiner, Quinten Strange, Scott Barrett (c), Fletcher Newell, George Bell, George Bower.

Reserves: Ioane Moananu, Joe Moody, Seb Calder, Jamie Hannah, Tahlor Cahill, Mitchell Drummond, Jone Rova, Riley Hohepa.

Fijian Drua: Ilaisa Droasese, Selestino Ravutaumada, Iosefo Masi, Apisalome Vota, Epeli Momo, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Frank Lomani, Meli Derenalagi (c), Vilive Miramira, Etonia Waqa, Ratu Leone Rotuisolia, Mesake Vocevoce, Jone Koroiduadua, Tevita Ikanivere, Haereiti Hetet.

Reserves: Mesulame Dolokoto, Livai Natave, Mesake Doge, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Kemu Valetini, Junior Ratuva.