Crusaders Player Ratings vs Reds (Quarter-Finals, 2022)
Written by Max Sharp.
Orangetheory Stadium welcomed the Reds, who ran out to face the Crusaders, wearing their famed red-and-black jerseys. We were taken for a roller-coaster ride as the possession rates were even and the halftime score was just 16-8. The Reds' attempted comeback began with Filipo Daugunu's 42nd-minute try, before the Crusaders' backline finally opened the field and ran riot to complete a convincing win with a 37-15 scoreline. After such an amazing watch, we'll run through the players' performances from jersey 1 through to 23, to analyse the match.
Crusaders Player Ratings
Loosehead Prop - George Bower (4/10)
Though he wasn't the only guilty player of this, Bower had made 3/5 of his team's handling errors by half time. 16 metres from 5 carries and 6/8 tackles were effective around the pitch, his ruck clearances though, not so much. The Crusaders will also be disappointed with 3/5 scrums won.
Hooker - Codie Taylor (6/10)
Wasn't his best lineout throwing, two were overthrown by Taylor. His 4 carries saw 8 running metres, 2 defenders beaten and 1 clean break, while 7 passes and 2 offloads worked well to open the field. 10/12 tackles and 2 turnovers can be respected as well.
Tighthead Prop - Oliver Jager (8/10)
A reputation-enhancing performance to say the least! The number 3's 2 carries didn't work, but his scrummaging sure did, the Crusaders' 2 lost scrums came immediately after Jager was subbed off too. Great defence too, 10/11 tackles and 1 turnover.
Lock 4 - Scott Barrett (7/10)
A few lineout steals were good to see, while he ran hard, with 19 metres off 6 carries. The passes from forward screen-runners tactic featured Barrett; he made 4 passes and 1 offload, while contributing 7/7 tackles and 1 turnover to the defence. Moved to blindside after Ethan Blackadder was injured as well.
Lock 5 - Sam Whitelock (7/10)
Plenty of fight left in the old dog. Whitelock, like Barrett, made 7/7 tackles, while he provided robust ruck speed to assist the attack. Made just 2 carries but made them effective with 13 metres and 1 defender beaten, gave 4 passes off the lineout too.
Blindside Flanker - Pablo Matera (7/10)
The habit of being a one-man team is no more. His 16 metres and 1 defender beaten off 6 carries weren't world class, but the best players are the team players. Matera was a true team player, being an effective screen-running passer, making 6 passes and 4 offloads. 5/5 tackles in 61 minutes before departing for Christie.
Openside Flanker - Ethan Blackadder (8/10)
Blackadder's wrist injury wasn't looking good, but he was destructive before being substituted. 10/10 tackles and 1 turnover was great to see, as were 5 passes. 3 carries aren't a lot but they resulted in 20 metres and 1 defender was beaten off a particularly hard run.
Number 8 - Cullen Grace (9/10)
One of the 22-year-old's best performances. Grace ran 40 metres and beat 3 defenders off 11 carries, the joint-most in the team. 11 tackles were the most in the team too. Is Grace going to earn a re-call to the All Blacks in the post-Foster era?
Halfback - Bryn Hall (6/10)
Worked hard to manage the game and defended with courage, contributing 7 tackles. Hall's 50 passes were a bit quicker than they've normally been this season and that was useful in the third quarter of the match. He did the basics very well.
First-Five - Richie Mo'unga (9/10)
The puppet master pulling the strings selected the correct carrier in every one of his 25 passes, but eventually went himself for 6 carries, which saw him score a try, run 21 metres and beat 1 defender. Perfect off the tee, kicking 7/7 goals for 20 points in total, won 3 turnovers too. 2/4 tackles is poor, that's the only reason Mo'unga isn't getting a 10/10 rating.
Left Wing - Leicester Fainga'anuku (8/10)
Did his usual thing and terrorised the Reds' defence. Ran a team-high 112 metres, beat 4 defenders and made 2 clean breaks from his 11 carries, the joint-most with Grace. Fainga'anuku made 4 inside passes but didn't defend flashily, with 2/4 tackles.
Second-Five - David Havili (8/10)
This is why Ian Foster will continue selecting Havili. Operated as a second Mo'unga, with 8 excellent passes and 2 offloads. Ran hard up the guts with 32 metres and 1 defender beaten, off 10 carries. Made all 8 of his tackles and also won a turnover. Excellent.
Centre - Jack Goodhue (5/10)
Outshined by Havili and by his opposite, Jordan Petaia. Goodhue was able to make 37 running metres and 1 clean break in the wide channels, 4 carries could have been more though. Just 2 passes isn't ideal for a centre, though he made 4/5 tackles and 1 turnover. Goodhue wasn't bad, he had a bit of a mixed game.
Right Wing - Sevu Reece (9/10)
Reece's kicking game got the Crusaders out of jail a few times, while his defence was great, 5/6 tackles is superb for a wing, as is 2 turnovers. Reece's running game put the scoreline out of reach, as he ran 55 metres and 1 clean break off 7 carries, while he beat 5 defenders on the way to scoring his try. 6 passes as well, that's more than Goodhue.
Fullback - Will Jordan (7/10)
This maverick just can't stop scoring! Jordan ran in for the opening try and ran 86 metres, beat 2 defenders and made 1 clean break off 9 carries. Wasn't quite as involved on distribution as normal, with 5 passes, while his defence was a bit dodgy; 2/4 tackles included one that allowed Vunivalu to score for the Reds. Will no doubt be even better next week.
Reserve Hooker - Brodie McAlister (7/10)
The casual observer wouldn't pick that McAlister was in just his second game back from injury. Provided 8 running metres from 4 carries, threw decently in the lineout, while his defence included 2/2 tackles and 2 turnovers. A successful 15 minutes.
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Tamaiti Williams (7/10)
An impressive cameo off the bench saw Williams score his 3rd try of the season, while he used his 15 minutes to hit plenty of rucks. The young man's potential is becoming more and more obvious. Take a gamble and start him next week.
Reserve Tighthead Prop - Fletcher Newell (6/10)
Wasn't originally named to play but did well in Finlay Brewis' absence. Strong ruck presence and 3/4 tackles was good to see from Newell's 29-minute spell. Did what was expected of a reserve prop and will no doubt be called upon next week.
Reserve Lock - Zach Gallagher (7/10)
On for Blackadder in the 62nd minute and had a surprising amount if involvement from lock. Ran 7 metres and beat 1 defender off his 2 carries, made 1 pass off the lineout and managed 6 tackles in a short amount of time. Gallagher has promise.
Reserve Loose Forward - Tom Christie (6/10)
Has now surpassed 200 tackles for the season, adding 7 to his tally in this game, missing just 1. Christie is a solid player who you can rely on to do the basics. Bringing him off the bench will be crucial if an injury is suffered next week, keep him there.
Reserve Halfback - Mitchell Drummond (6/10)
Finished the game nicely with some decent game management. Drummond played very similarly to Hall, giving the Crusaders some consistent ball post-rucks. Drummond's 21 passes all had accuracy, while he made 4 tackles.
Reserve Midfielder - Braydon Ennor (No rating)
The 4-test All Black wore jersey 22, as there was no replacement first-five named. Ennor didn't add too much to the game after replacing Goodhue so won't be rated.
Reserve Outside Back - George Bridge (No rating)
Played just 14 minutes, replacing David Havili, in a move that saw Leicester Fainga'anuku move to 13. The same as Ennor, Bridge didn't have enough involvement to be rated.