Great Game. The intensity was right up there.
Blues came out to dominate physically and they did that in the first half and the early part of the 2nd half. The loose trio were great in the early stages. Sotutu looks like a complete player.
Tuipolotu again was good and is the form lock in the competition. Their eagerness in defence put the Crusaders key players, most notably Mo’unga and Havili, under pressure and they made mistakes. However at times their aggressive defence got them in trouble when tacklers ended on the wrong side and got trapped.
In years gone by they may have been fine but the standards in this competition, they were penalised. This kept the Crusaders in touch on the score board.
For the Crusaders they struggled to get go forward early. Only really Moody and Taylor got over the advantage line. Having journeymen at 6 and 8 is an issue. Taylor was good around the field but there were clearly some line out issues.
Although they weren’t entirely his fault, Douglas appears to have some technique issues with his jumping. His arms appear to come late and wide as opposed to fast and narrow. Whitelock is missing some support. Strange was very good off the bench and potentially should start next week.
Christie stood up in defence early and had a really solid game. Bridge as many have mentioned was excellent. He ran down Telea and saved a try, his work under the high ball on attack and defence was excellent and his draw and pass for the try was text book.
He handled the pressure as well as anyone on the field.
Ultimately the Blues were unable to maintain the initial intensity. The Crusaders wore them down. Mo’unga and Havili started to find space.
Barrett had a few shockers late with a kick out on the full and the dropped high ball.