TODAY |

Crusaders romp to five-try win over Highlanders to earn South Island bragging rights

Southern bragging rights were up for grabs for the first time in 2020 as the Crusaders hosted the Highlanders tonight.

FULLTIME: Crusaders 33 Highlanders 13 - The Highlanders blow one last chance to get on the scoreboard, and the Crusaders pick up the bonus point win. They were good for it. 

74min: Crusaders 33 Highlanders 13 - Crusaders dominate from the back of the lineout, Sione Havili the grateful recipient of the five-pointer. Mitch Drummond adds two more. 

64min: Crusaders 26 Highlanders 13 - Finally, there's some scoring action in the second half. Nareki finds enough space in the corner to touch down, on the back of an Ioane pass. Ioane's kick swings wide.

David Havili. Source: Photosport

46min: Yellow card to Shannon Frizell for cleaning-out Ennor dangerously at the breakdown. A tough ask just got tougher for the Highlanders. 

40min: And we're back

HALFTIME: Crusaders 26 Highlanders 8 - The Highlanders have had their moments on attack, but man, their defence is lacking big time. The Crusaders have looked likely everytime they've had the ball, and the margin is fair. 

32min: Crusaders 26 Highlanders 8 - This time George Bridge crosses from broken play, on the back of quick work from Bryn Hall and another Jack Goodhue offload. The midfield man with a mullet is on absolute fire tonight. Hall nails the conversion. 

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Crusaders past and present will get together this weekend to celebrate 25 years. Source: 1 NEWS

26min: Crusaders 19 Highlanders 8 - The Highlanders have missed plenty of tackles, and the 12th proved costly, with Braydon Ennor proving far to big and strong for a feeble attempt. Havili is struggling, so Bryn Hall does the honours.

24min: Crusaders 12 Highlanders 8 - The Highlanders backline clicks into gear, Michael Collins finishing brilliantly in the corner, after Jona Nareki did ever so well to create the space. Ioane misses. 

20min: Crusaders 12 Highlanders 3 - Jack Goodhue's ability to offload again pays dividends for the men in red, freeing Tom Christie out wide for the try. Havili's conversion attempt is no good.

13min: Crusaders 7 Highlanders 3 - After a bright start by the visitors, it's been all Crusaders for the past few minutes. They get some reward, with Goodhue and Bridge combining to send Codie Taylor over from close range. David Havili adds the extras.

4min: Crusaders 0 Highlanders 3 - After a good minute of Highlanders pressure, including a break by Josh Ioane, Aaron Smith loses the ball over the line. The ref goes back for a penalty, which Ioane knocks over.

0 mins: And we're off. It's warm and dry, so hopefully we'll see some good running rugby. 

Kick-off is a 7.05pm. 

6.25pm: It's going to be a big night in Christchurch after the match, with Crusaders past and present getting together to celebrate 25 seasons.

The invite extends to Highlanders coaches Aaron Mauger and Mark Hammett. 

Here's what Scott Robertson said about the night during the week. 

Read more
Scott Robertson throws Caleb Ralph under the bus ahead of Crusaders reunion - 'last man standing'

Pre-match:

The Crusaders will be without captain Scott Barrett after he hurt his knee against the Blues last week, while the Highlanders will be hoping to back up last week's narrow win over the Brumbies.

Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Michael Alaalatoa, 4-Luke Romano, 5-Mitchell Dunshea, 6-Cullen Grace, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Tom Sanders, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-George Bridge, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-David Havili (c)

Reserves: 16-Andrew Makalio, 17-Isi Tuungafasi, 18-George Bower, 19-Ethan Roots, 20-Sione Havili, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Brett Cameron, 23-Leicester Faingaanuku.

Highlanders: 1-Ayden Johnstone, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Siate Tokolahi, 4-Jesse Parete, 5-Josh Dickson, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-James Lentjes, 8-Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Mitch Hunt, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Josh Ioane, 13-Rob Thompson, 14-Kirisi Kuridrani, 15-Michael Collins

Reserves: 16-Ash Dixon, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Conan O'Donnell, 19-Jack Whetton, 20-Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Teihorangi Walden, 23-Josh McKay