It was an absolute cracker and the Crusaders totally deserved their win. It might have been by the narrowest of margins, but they led all the way.
Crusaders are a well coached, accurate team. I was surprised to see their forward pack with 7 AB’s overshadowed by a bunch of no-names from the Capital. Coles held them together and Savea was a master at the breakdown. His performance suggests he will start in the Rugby Championship. The question is will he be at 7 or 8?
Cane has performed well since his return. By rights he should be a starter but that would leave our captain on the bench – hardly a fitting place for a leader of distinction. I suspect he needs more game time to regather the edge all players need to win RWCs.
The Crusaders backline with Mo’unga, Crotty and Goodhue is better than any non-international backline in the world. But the Hurricanes won this battle with Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Laumape in outstanding form, showing real X-factor.
John Eales, the legendary Wallaby, is nicknamed “nobody” by his fellow players, because nobody is perfect. On Saturday night Beauden Barrett was as close as it gets. His array of skills was there for all to see. He tried to shape the opposition’s defence in the first half. In the second, he attacked the line with exciting effect. Line breaks, silky passes, chip and recover – it was all there.
It doesn’t get any better than this – a fine example for the global game.
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