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Clinical Crusaders mount second half comeback to take thriller over Blues

Relive 1 NEWS' live coverage of tonight's top-of-the-table Super Rugby clash between the Crusaders and the Blues, from Christchurch's Orangetheory Stadium.

Codie Taylor is tackled against the Blues Source: Photosport

8:50pm: FULLTIME - Crusaders 26 Blues 15

Into the final minute now. The Blues can really only come away with a bonus point here.

The Crusaders' defence holds though, as Drummond clears into touch!

8:46pm: 77 mins - Crusaders 26 Blues 15

TRY!!! The Blues knock on at the lineout, Mo'unga tries the drop goal under advantage, but it's charged down. We go back for the scrum, Crusaders' feed on the 5m line. Drummond feeds, but the front rows go down to force a reset.

Drummond feeds again, Bridge takes at first receiver. He's tackled, before Douglas and Sione Havili have a go. The Crusaders switch to their left. Tom Christie goes, as does Havili.

Mo'unga tries to dance through, before Goodhue wins an advantage for the Crusaders. Mo'unga runs again, before he puts Will Jordan through to score!!!

Who else but Will Jordan! Mo'unga lines up the kick and he's got it!!!

8:40pm: 71 mins - Crusaders 19 Blues 15

Will Jordan has passed his HIA and is back on the field. Telea knocks on a high kick for a Crusaders scrum.

The Crusaders move the ball to the backs from the back of the scrum, but Ennor is clobbered by Faiane. Drummond goes to the air, and Barrett can't hang on.

The Crusaders on the front foot here and Ennor kicks into the corner. Barrett gets there, but has nowhere to go! Bridge puts him into touch to give the Crusaders a lineout in the corner.

8:36pm: 67 mins - Crusaders 19 Blues 15

Penalty against the Blues, so the Crusaders will have a lineout in the corner.

Whitelock wins the throw and the Crusaders drive. Goodhue runs off the back, before Strange runs towards the tryline.

They're past the 5m line, and they've got advantage. The Crusaders can rub some real salt into the Blues' wounds here. Douglas goes close, but the ball is loose - we'll go back for the penalty.

The Crusaders want the points though! Mo'unga converts.

8:31pm: 62 mins - Crusaders 16 Blues 15

TRY!!! The Crusaders turn it on from nothing! Mo'unga puts Bridge away down the left with a brilliant bit of work.

Bridge draws in the last man before finding Drummong back inside him! Drummond goes over to score the Crusaders' first try of the night, but Mo'unga deserves all the credit there.

Kick to come, and Mo'unga hits it perfectly! The Crusaders take the lead!!

8:29pm: 60 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 15

Barrett kicks a beauty into the corner to give the Crusaders a lineout under real pressure. Otere Black is off, TJ Faiane on, Plummer to first five.

The Crusaders win their throw, but Mo'unga's kick isn't out. Barrett goes for the up and under, Mo'unga is there to take it. This time the ball goes back to Havili who kicks.

Plummer gets the ball, goes to the air. Havili wins it and kicks. Barrett gets the ball and kicks - this one's straight out though, attacking lineout for the Crusaders!

8:25pm: 57 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 15

This game has come to life! Mo'unga wins his own kickoff and charges upfield, the Crusaders can hit back straight away!

They go forward but Hall knocks on! Plummer clears the danger. Oh no, Will Jordan goes for an HIA, Sevu Reece comes back on.

8:23pm: 56 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 15

TRY!!! Penalty against the Crusaders at the scrum and the Blues take it quickly through Akira Ioane! Akira goes close with the Crusaders offside and not back 10m.

Christie goes to the backs to Rieko Ioane and he holds off the defence to score! 

Ennor charges down the kick to add to the drama too!

8:21pm: 54 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 10

What's happened here? A high kick is loose after Havili and Telea compete for the ball, so there's a foot race between Ennor and Plummer. 

Plummer loses his footing as the ball goes into touch. We're checking upstairs whether it's come off Ennor or Plummer. 

The TMO rules that it's come off Ennor. It'll be a five-metre scrum for the Blues!

8:17pm: 53 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 10

Crusaders knock on, Blues scrum, but Alalaatoa gives away a penalty after unbinding. The Blues want the points.

Harry Plummer to take this one from slightly further out than Black might be used to. 

Plummer's first kick of the night then, but it's well wide. The Crusaders are bringing on Will Jordan for Sevu Reece, watch this space.

8:13pm: 49 mins - Crusaders 9 Blues 10

The Crusaders have the chance to hit back though, Papalii not rolling away. Mo'unga wants the points.

Right in front here, and the Crusaders bring it back to a one point game!

8:10pm: 46 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 10

The Blues playing under advantage early in the second half. We'll go back for the penalty, they'll take the lineout inside the 22. Eklund throws short to Sotutu and the Blues go quickly! Christie's pass from the back of the ruck is wayward, and the Blues lose ground.

Tuipulotu does well to make it back though! Akira Ioane picks and goes, as does Josh Goodhue, into the 11th phase. Advantage Blues as well as they go to the backs. Barrett and Black combine, but the Crusaders intercept the pass, we go back for the penalty.

The Blues want the three though, Black lines up the kick from in front, and he won't miss from there.

8:05pm: 41 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

The Crusaders take slightly longer in the sheds. Their 35-match winning streak at home is under threat tonight!

Beauden Barrett kicks off to start the second half. Havili returns fire straight into touch though.

7:52pm: HALFTIME - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

The Crusaders win their lineout and will have a go before the break. The Blues' forwards are doing a mighty job here.

Mo'unga tries to step up through the 22, but there's a knock on. Blues scrum. They just need to win this and clear to end the half. 

Christie feeds, but the Crusaders front row angles in. Alaalatoa the culprit.

Barrett clears into touch and that's halftime!

7:49pm: 39 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

News coming through now that Parsons has failed his concussion test. 

Crusaders' scrum. Hall feeds, Reece takes as first receiver. Hall's pass is intercepted by Sotutu though. 

The Blues try to work forward to give themselves some breathing room. Barrett clears into touch.

7:46pm: 37 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

The Crusaders win their own throw and look to go to the backs. Reece has his first real touch but Rieko Ioane brings him down.

The Crusaders creeping towards the 22, Reece has another go but can't step through, before the Crusaders go wide to Bridge. 

Bridge has another run and goes forward, before the Crusaders go back infield, the Blues' defence is resolute at the moment. Mo'unga goes wide to Reece on the right, and the Blues give away advantage for a knock on. 

Havili chips over the top, but it looks like he's been taken out late. False alarm, he's run straight into Akira Ioane.

We'll go back for the penalty.

7:43pm: 34 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

Blues win their own lineout and can move the ball. Clarke makes ground out wide, and Rieko Ioane has a run, before Barrett gives away another penalty for leaving his feet. 

The Crusaders clear into touch for a lineout.

7:41pm: 32 mins - Crusaders 6 Blues 7

Another penalty for the Crusaders, this time against Plummer for not rolling away. Harsh call, he didn't really have anywhere to roll away to.

The Crusaders want the points, Mo'unga with his second kick of the night, this one slightly further out, but right in front. 

And he doesn't miss those, just a point in it now.

7:37pm: 28 mins - Crusaders 3 Blues 7

Short delay while Parsons leaves the field, but we're ready to go again. The Crusaders now want the three points, and Mo'unga converts from in front.

7:36pm: 27 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

Crusaders knock on from their lineout, Blues scrum. Christie feeds but the Crusaders win a penalty at the scrum, and they go for the corner again.

Taylor throws, the Crusaders win it as Hall hits Goodhue with a crash ball. Penalty against the Blues for offside against Tu'ungafasi, but Parsons is staying down. He's clashed heads with Tu'ungafasi, and that looks awful.

Eklund warming up, looks like Parsons will need an HIA.

7:32pm: 25 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

Blues lineout. Parsons throws, Sotutu wins. Clarke makes ground before Mo'unga stops him.

Sotutu picks and goes, but Barrett is penalised for leaving his feet. Crusaders lineout.

7:28pm: 21 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

Sotutu gives away a penalty, so Mo'unga goes to the air under advantage. Clarke wins the ball in the air, so we go back for the penalty. 

The Crusaders turn down the shot at goal, and want the linout, but Mo'unga's kick is a shambles. The Blues will have a scrum after Mo'unga's kick is goes very dead.

7:27pm: 19 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

The Crusaders with their first real chance now as Goodhue has a crack. Moody gteloes close, the Crusaders right on the line now! 

Mo'unga and Havili combine, but the Blues' defence is good, before Dalton Papalii steals the ball, and wins a penalty too! 

The Blues' defence survives its first test of the night. Blues lineout.

7:25pm: 17 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

The Blues win the lineout against the throw. They go wide to that right hand side again, but the Crusaders defend well. 

Akira Ioane gives away a penalty for a neck roll. Crusaders' lineout, right in the corner.

7:23pm: 15 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

Telea breaks from nowhere and runs from inside his own half to the 5m line! Bridge the hero to make the tackle. Barrett acts as first receiver, as the Blues go down the right again, but Sotutu's attempted pass to Telea goes into touch!

The Crusaders win their lineout, and Mo'unga clears. Penalty called against Finlay Christie though, Crusaders' lineout.

7:19pm: 12 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 7

TRY!!! Another Blues 5m scrum. Clarke standing in behind though, Barrett on the wing. Christie feeds, but the front rows go up this time. Huge scrum from the Crusaders there!

Sotutu goes off the back again, but this time the Crusaders are up to it. Akira Ioane picks and goes, the Crusaders offside though. The Blues have the advantage as Black throws a huge cutout pass to Telea on the wing - and he scores!!!

Great finish from the Blues' winger, diving over and grounding with one hand for the first points of the match!

Black with the kick, and straightens it back through the posts!

7:15pm: 8 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 0

The Blues' backs move the ball through the hands after a burst from Akira Ioane. Barrett stabs a kick through, where Clarke is in a race for the ball with Havili, he can't beat it into touch though. Crusaders' lineout, but Taylor's throw isn't straight!

Blues' scrum then right on the five-metre line. Barrett standing directly in behind, a couple of resets though as the front rows collapse, slippery surface underfoot and all.

Christie feeds, Sotutu goes off the back and he goes over the line, but has he grounded it?! The Blues celebrate, but held up is the call - we'll check upstairs. The Blues are going back to halfway, they think it's a try...

It looks like Mo'unga and Ennor have managed to get underneath Sotutu, no try the call. The Blues will get another scrum though.

7:09pm: 4 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 0

Tuipulotu wins the lineout as the Blues go to Telea as first receiver. They work forward before Christie stabs a kick through.

The Blues are called for offside at the kick though. Crusaders' penalty. Barrett keeps the ball in though. 

He goes for the up and under, Mo'unga gathers, but Barrett makes the tackle too.

Goodhue tries to kick through the line, but the ball goes out on the full. Blues lineout.

7:07pm: 2 mins - Crusaders 0 Blues 0

The Blues win the kickoff, and Black returns fire straight away. The Crusaders run before Telea turns the ball over. The Blues can attack as Barrett goes to the air this time.

Havili wins it in the air and the Crusaders can go again. Mo'unga clears into touch, Blues' lineout.

7:05pm: KICKOFF - Crusaders 0 Blues

We're away! Richie Mo'unga kicks off to get things going!

7:04pm

And now Patrick Tuipulotu leads the Blues out. Not a whole lot of love in the house for the Auckland side down in Christchurch...

7:02pm

Here we go then! Codie Taylor leads the Crusaders out of the tunnel, they've not lost on this ground in Super Rugby since 2016 remember!

6:55pm

Good evening! It's chilly in Christchurch, but we've got a full house in attendance tonight. Kick off around 10 minutes away!

PREVIEW

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Crusaders host the Blues in a battle of Super Rugby's two unbeaten sides.

The new competition has seen a resurgence from the Blues, however tonight they'll face their biggest test, up against the three-time consecutive defending champions.

For the hosts, coach Scott Robertson has had the luxury of leaving out youngster Will Jordan, in favour of an All Black back three of David Havili, Sevu Reece and George Bridge.

The Blues meanwhile have indicated their game plan, naming three kickers in Otere Black at first-five, Harry Plummer at second-five, and Beauden Barrett at fullback.

However there was no room for Dan Carter, meaning there will be no Canterbury homecoming for the 112-Test All Black.

TEAMS

Crusaders: 15. David Havili, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Braydon Ennor, 12. Jack Goodhue, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7. Tom Christie, 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Mitchell Dunshea, 4. Sam Whitelock, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Joe Moody.

Reserves: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. George Bower, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Quinten Strange, 20. Sione Havili, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Fetuli Paea, 23. Will Jordan.

Blues: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Mark Telea, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Harry Plummer, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Otere Black, 9. Finlay Christie, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 7. Dalton Papalii, 6. Akira Ioane, 5. Josh Goodhue, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2. James Parsons, 1. Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16. Kurt Eklund, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Aaron Carroll, 20. Blake Gibson, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. TJ Faiane, 23. Matt Duffie.