Sunday, March 3, 2024
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Crusaders crash as Brumbies, Reds stay unbeaten in Super Rugby

SYDNEY (AFP) – Rameka Pohipi scored a match-winning try after the siren as Waikato Chiefs upset the Canterbury Crusaders, but the ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds kept their unbeaten Super Rugby Pacific records intact at the weekend.

The Crusaders led 21-10 early in the second-half at Christchurch, but the Sam Cane-led Chiefs refused to go away and two tries in the last six minutes was just reward after they dominated possession.

It was the Chiefs’ first away victory against the Crusaders since the opening round of the 2016 campaign, and ended the 12-time champions winning start to the season.

“Every time the Kiwi teams play it’s down to the wire,” said Cane, with two tries from winger Shaun Stevenson and nine points off Bryn Gatland’s boot also contributing to the 24-21 win.

“We had a mountain of possession in that second half and they defended so well. We just had to keep plugging, building phases and we stayed disciplined and managed to get what we needed just in the nick of time.”

Defeat saw the Crusaders slip to third on the 12-team table after round four with the Brumbies and the Reds the only two unbeaten sides. The Brumbies cruised past the struggling Melbourne Rebels 36-17 to bag a bonus point, but it was a much harder task for the Reds against newcomers Fijian Drua who staged a incredible fightback before falling 33-28.

The Reds led 28-9 with 18 minutes left at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane after scoring four unanswered tries. But as their defence tired the Drua pounced with three tries in five minutes to set up a frenetic finish.

A five-pointer three minutes from time by Reds flanker Seru Uru ultimately sealed the game.

“A lot of good footy played but from our end not executing the final parts of it and Fiji jumping on errors almost like a New Zealand-style where a turnover costs you a try,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.