The inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season has its first champion as the Crusaders end the Blues’ 15 game winning streak. Video / Sky Sport
How the players scored in Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific final at Eden Park.
15. Will Jordan – 8
The competition’s co-top try scorer has been a threat all season. While sharp breaks were rare here,
he punched smart and was a constant threat.
14. Sevu Reece – 7
The lightning winger could find little space here, but kept busy and was always involved. Awarded for a strong hunting game with a late comedy essay.
13. Jack Goodhue – 7
He is back. In his sixth appearance since an ACL injury last April, the center knocked down tackles, delivered smooth offloads and showed how vital his class can be in a big matchup.
12. David Havili – 8
His clever attacking kicks were a point of difference in the All Blacks’ four-man midfield mix. Showed excellent game management on a high stakes night.
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 8
New All Black went into beast mode twice on the try line in the first half, the second time setting up Bryn Hall’s key try. The deadly assaults were a constant reminder of who was responsible.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 9
Ran the game. Early breaks underlined the threat of this All Black at 32 Tests. A tidy kick in the 13th minute was a message to AB selectors. Give him the black No. 10 jersey.
9. Bryn Room – 8
A quietly industrious bond for Mo’unga all season, he was more visible and electric in the final. He capped off his final game for the Crusaders with a 40th-minute try.
8. Cullen Grace – 7
Great line-up job, which put pressure on the Blues pack. Scored twice in the semi-finals against the Chiefs but was headlong and driving in the trenches that game.
7. Tom Christie – 8
The competition’s best tackler stayed busy throughout and delivered classic defensive moves. Well worn and patronized breakdowns in Ethan Blackadder’s absence.
6. Pablo Matera – 7
Invited by justice to play this match despite a handful of yellow cards. The well-traveled Argentinian was in his element when times were tough. And that kick!
5. Sam Whitelock – 7
Experience matters, and this guy has more AB tests than all the Blues forwards combined. It showed, and you can bet it mattered in the days leading up to the game
4. Scott Barrett (c) – 9
Won the ball, carried the ball, broke the breakdown. Comes with everything you want from a world class lock. Neutrals hope to see this form in a black jersey.
3. Oli Jäger – 7
The biggest man in the starting lineups was busy in that brutal first half and put his 128kg frame into everything. Bonus points for his team dominating set pieces
2. Codie Taylor – 6
In a team with as many VCs as the Upham family, the hooker was a capable leader for a pack that fought hard on the front line and took no prisoners.
1. George Bower – 7
Helpful first touches and a great feeling of space for such a large unit. A hardworking part of the peloton who had the game in their bag after 40 minutes.
16. Brodie McAlister – 6
17 Tamaiti Williams – 6
18 Fletcher Newell – 6
19 Strange Quenten – 6
20 Corey Kellow – 6
21 Mitch Drummond – 6
22 Braydon Ennor – 6
23 George Bridge – 6
15. Stephen Perofeta – 5
Tough evening for the new All Black. The competition’s leading points scorer had few opportunities to shine as the Crusaders kicked smart and pinned him down.
14. AJ Lam – 5
Had few opportunities to shine in this game after making good progress this season in the absence of Caleb Clarke. Struggled to show his threat on the short side and the short ball.
13. Rieko Ioane – 4
Standards were high in midfield, with four All Blacks strutting around. The visitors did a great job of keeping him out of the game. Could he have done more to get into it?
12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – 4
The famous code changer’s 12th top-flight rugby match was his toughest, and probably his most anonymous. Overshadowed by the versatile Havili.
11. Mark Telea – 4
The early scrambling tackle saved a try. But, as with his fellow Blues away, there was very little chance for the winger to make an impact in attack.
10. Beauden Barrett – 6
Couldn’t trigger anything in the first half but found his bearings as the Blues dictated the pace of the game until the final quarter. He was the Mark Waugh to his brother Scott’s Steve.
9. Finlay Christie – 7
The shortest man in the park showed just about the biggest ticker on defense. Great commotion for a 58th-minute try that almost sparked a revival.
8. Hoskins Sotutu – 5
Trained in tight work where he was helpful in key turnovers. Showed quick wits to take advantage of the charging chance in the second half.
7. Adrian Choat – 4
The Blues were missed for possession and territory in the first half – turnovers just wouldn’t come for the No.7 substitute. Fired for speedster skipper Dalton Papalii at half-time.
6. Akira Ioane – 5
The most experienced Blues player was barely seen, as the Crusaders pack dragged the hosts’ lives early and forced the running back loosies into a tight fight.
5. Tom Robinson – 4
A standout performer all season, labeled as neither-a-lock-nor-aflanker. Worked hard around the park in the Finals, but the Blues roster was the Crusaders gimp.
4.Josh Goodhue – 4
Substituted early in the second half as the Blues struggled to sort out dysfunctional lineups. On the back foot elsewhere. His brother Jack has bragging rights
3. Nepo Laulala – 4
Lucky to be without a card in the 17th minute when the referee’s call was more common sense than respect for the rules. Fifty-three minutes of back-pedalling work.
2. Kurt Eklund – 2
The All Black Maori prostitute will have to carry the box for the alignment yips. With that completely unreliable decisive kick, the Blues struggled and desperation crept in.
1. Alex Hodgman – 6
Another to end a confused shift after 53 minutes. The blistering start of the attacking group went through every facet of the game, and they couldn’t put any heat on the visitors.
16. Soane Vikena – 4
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 4
18. Ofa Tuungafasi – 3
19. Luke Romano – 6
20. Dalton Papali – 6
21. Sam Nock – 4
22. Bryce Heem – 4
23. Zarn Sullivan – NA
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