As it happened: Rag-tag Crusaders hold on for hard-fought win in wet conditions after physical clash with Hurricanes

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's Super Rugby round 15 clash between the Crusaders and Hurricanes at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

FT: CRU 24-13 HUR

Crusaders hold the ball for the final two minutes and kick it into touch on the hooter. Well-earned win and played to the conditions. Rain got worse and worse as the night got on but they held their nerve and this make-shift forward pack has gotten the job done in the wet. That'll do it for us tonight. Enjoy your weekend!

78min: CRU 24-13 HUR

Hurricanes run it for 9 phases and finally go wide 30m out. But Barrett's pass is forward! That'll do it. Really poor pass really. Crusaders scrum 30m from their line.

75min: CRU 24-13 HUR

Crusaders pick and go for 10 phases before Drummond opts for a high kick. Hurricanes recover but as they try to go wide the ball goes in to touch. Crusaders lineout on halfway.

72min: CRU 24-13 HUR

HUR TRY! Hurricanes rumble in the midfield for 6 phases before it goes to Ardie Savea. He pops a short ball inside to Prinsep from 40m out and he's in a hole! Prinsep brushes off one, two and he's away to score under the posts! Is it enough to spark an insane rally? Eight minutes left...

69min: CRU 24-6 HUR

Couple of changes for both sides as we enter the final 10. Hurricanes have a scrum on halfway. They must strike now if they want to have a miracle's chance.

65min: CRU 24-6 HUR

CRU TRY! That could do it! Crusaders are in with a clever trick play at scrum time. Hall runs off the back of the scrum openside to draw attention and then its Bedwell-Curtis with the ball at the back attacking blindisde! Shrugs one off and he's in!

61min: CRU 17-6 HUR

WHAT A SHOCKER FROM WEST! The replacement Hurricanes first-five is in the pocket deep in the Hurricanes' in-goal and it goes to him off the scrum. He gets it clean but the Crusaders are rushing and it's come off the side of his boot! It doesn't even get out of the in-goal as it goes over the sideline! That means the Crusaders have a scrum 5m out!

60min: CRU 17-6 HUR

Jack Goodhue makes a barnstorming run off a lineout on the Hurricanes 22m! He breaks the line, shrugs off two, looks for support and tries to pop to Bridge but it goes to ground! Hurricanes scrum on their 5m.

58min: CRU 17-6 HUR

Mo'unga kicks for the corner off the scrum and it's a beauty! Perfect weight, no one back there and rolls into touch. Hurricanes with a lineout on their 5m.

56min: CRU 17-6 HUR

Both sides trade kicks early off the kickoff until the Hurricanes finally decide to try and run from outside their 22m. It goes to Lam and he tries to cut back inside and link up with Jordie but it goes to ground. Crusaders have the ball on half way when the ref stops the game with a Crusader down. Ennor is done for the night after rolling BOTH ankles in an ugly tackle. How unlucky can you get? Crusaders get a scrum on halfway for the restart.

53min: CRU 17-6 HUR

CRU TRY! Crusaders rumble over again! Alaalatoa gets the credit but the entire pack was in on the action. Hurricanes are going to need some discipline and possession to turn things around.

50min: CRU 10-6 HUR

Crusaders get another penalty off the lineout and this time it's Toomaga-Allen done for a high tackle. Same thing again, starts on the shoulder and rides up to the head - at least the referee is consistant with the call. Crusaders use the penalty to kick for touch and it's a lineout 5m from the Hurricanes' line.

49min: CRU 10-6 HUR

And straight off the kick off Savea is penalised for playing in the air. Another rough call as he was clearly going for the ball in the air and he's collided with a Crusader. Either way, Crusaders kick and get a lineout from on the Hurricanes' 10m.

48min: CRU 10-6 HUR

CRU THREE! Crusaders take the three on offer from the penalty and Mo'unga slots it.

47min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Crusaders go wide to the left after 11 phases and it's Havili for the corner but Savea wraps him up and into touch! What a try-saving tackle! Ref goes back for an offside advantage.

45min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Big chance for the Crusaders here. They clear from the scrum and earn a penalty at the following breakdown for not releasing. That leads to a lineout 10m from the Hurricanes line!

42min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Hurricanes get first attacking chance of the second half after they get a penalty for offside. That leads to a lineout inside the Crusaders half but a knock on soon after ruins that chance. Scrum for Crusaders 30m from their line.

40min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Back underway with Mo'unga's kick.

HT: CRU 7-6 HUR

The Crusaders try to drive again but it goes to ground and the ball can't get out. Ref blows the whistle and that'll do it for the half. Great job by the Hurricanes pack for holding out there. Could've been game changing considering how tight the game has been so far.

The scoreline is a perfect reflection of the game so far. Low scoring, physical affair in the wet but the Crusaders have held onto the ball just that little bit better. Still a massive second half in store. We'll be back soon for all the action!

40min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Crusaders are looking for five here. They've had two penalties and both times gone to the 5m line out despite the halftime hooter going. Shields is warned another penalty down here will result in a yellow card. Can the Crusaders convert the pressure before the half?

39min: CRU 7-6 HUR

Crusaders will get one last crack after another odd penalty. Initially its for a head high on Taminivalu but the ref says its actually for throwing him to the ground! Shields argues but to no aveil. Crusaders get a lineout 22m from Crusaders line. 

37min: CRU 7-6 HUR

HUR THREE! Hurricanes cut the lead to one after Savea makes a strong run in the middle of the field. Powers for 20m after making the line break and is finally brought down 10m from the Crusaders' line. Quick recycle leads to an offside penalty advantage and the ref quickly comes back for it when an improvised cross kick goes astray. Barrett converts from out front with ease.

35min: CRU 7-3 HUR

Hurricanes try a cross kick off the scrum but it's knocked on. Crusaders try a kick of their own off the scrum but they can't control it and it rolls into the in-goal for a 22m dropout. Barrett thumps it deep, the two teams trade high kicks and the Crusaders knock it on on halfway! Scrum coming up for the Canes.

32min: CRU 7-3 HUR

Exciting couple of phases from both teams there as Mo'unga and Ennor combine on the right wing with a chip and chase to get inside the Hurricanes half. But Mo'unga gets brought down and Perenara turns it over. Hurricanes clear but Bridge takes it quickly! Crusaders on the run but it goes to ground. Hurricanes get a scrum just outside their 22m.

29min: CRU 7-3 HUR

Alaatoa is penalised for a high shot after the TMO intervines. Bit rough really. Initial contact is on the shoulder and it slips up in the wet as Riccitelli goes down. Nothing in it still. Still, ref agrees with the TMO and it's a Hurricanes lineout just outside the Crusaders' 22m.

27min: CRU 7-3 HUR

HUR THREE! Crusaders clear off the kickoff but are penalised at the ensuing lineout as Scott Barrett plays the man in the air. Jordie steps up on halfway and gets it! Way to respond there. Good bit of sibling rivalry going on!

25min: CRU 7-0 HUR

CRU TRY! The drive finally gets over! The initial maul off the lineout dies quickly but a few pick and goes later sees Scott Barrett get over the chalk. He'll be thanking his brother Jordie for getting him down there to score that!

22min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Things don't get much better for Jordie as he's penalised for a high tackle. Crusaders use the following penalty with a thumping punt from Mo'unga and now it's a lineout 5m from the Hurricanes line! Massive chance here!

21min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Crusaders survive again! Hurricanes go wide to the right wing and Savea is in space of Milner-Skudder's pass! But Savea runs out of space so he links up with Barrett inside him but the first five knocks it on! Crusaders set up once again from 10m off their line. Mo'unga looks to clear, does so but is cleaned out late by Jordie! Penalty to the Crusaders. Odd brain explosion from Jordie there. Instead of defending a lineout 20m off their line, The Crusaders have a lineout on halfway.

19min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Crusaders survive the attack as Barrett tries a grubber through the line but its picked up by Bridge with ease. Crusaders reset at the ruck 10m off their own line before Mo'unga clears. Hurricanes lineout on the Crusaders 22m coming up. Looks like Tim Bateman's night is done as well. He's got ice going on his hamstring.

17min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Hurricanes now have their first real attacking chance. They go to a high ball off the scrum and Havili knocks it on try to collect it! No advantage so its a Hurricanes scrum in the middle of the field on the Crusaders' 22m. Doesn't get much better for a set up than that.

15min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Both teams are really struggling to hold onto the pill so far tonight. Back-to-back lineouts are overthrown and the second one sees Barrett kick it off the ground for an impromptu grubber. He looks to chip it again on halfway but misses! Crusaders dive on it, look to recycle and knock it on. Hurricanes scrum on halfway.

12min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Crusaders try to maul but it goes to ground. Hurricanes swarm on the ball and the Crusaders are penalised for not releasing! Big chance goes begging with the Hurricanes' pack getting the job done.

11min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Toomaga-Allen is penalised at the scrum and it gives the Crusaders great attacking position! The have a lineout inside the Hurricanes' 22m now.

8min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Hurricanes rumble for 11 phases before looking to go wide but Shields knocks it on! Crusaders with a scrum on halfway.

5min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Crusaders get the first chance to score with a penalty after offside is called from the lineout but Mo'unga hooks it to the left! Wind is playing up here and it shows with Mo'unga right in front for that kick from 40m out.

4min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Hurricanes are penalised for not releasing and the Crusaders happily clear. They get a lineout just inside the Hurricanes half for their efforts.

2min: CRU 0-0 HUR

First handling error of the night and it's a knock on by the Crusaders. Tried to go wide to the right wing and the ball gets dropped cold. Hurricanes scrum 35 out from Crusaders line.

0min: CRU 0-0 HUR

Barrett gets things underway and Crusaders don't muck around clearing it from inside their 22m. Hurricanes with a lineout just inside Crusaders half and there's already an injury concern as Toby Smith has gone down.

7:30pm

Light drizzle on the pitch now as the teams make their way out onto the pitch. Moments away from kick off.

WEATHER

Light showers at the moment. Eight degrees. 20km/h winds from the south west.

Hurricanes' Jordie Barrett tries to evade Crusaders' Jack Goodhue during the Super Rugby match between Hurricanes v Crusaders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Saturday 10th March 2018. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.photosport.nz
Hurricanes' Jordie Barrett in action against the Crusaders. Source: Photosport

PREVIEW

Tonight's game doesn't get much better - two in-form teams face off in a top-of-the-table clash that will likely decide the NZ conference.

But there's an extra opponent the Crusaders have had to overcome this week, with the sideline claiming six of their All Blacks due to numerous injuries and suspensions.

The Cantabrians are without Owen Franks, Joe Moody (both suspended), Tim Perry, Sam Whitelock, Jordan Taufua and Ryan Crotty for the match.

Perry and Taufua are the latest to be scratched from the Crusaders' roster due to injuries picked up at this week's All Blacks camp.

The Hurricanes have been forced to make a couple of changes as well - the most notable in the centres with Matt Proctor still recovering from a sternum injury.

That sees Jordie Barrett move to the centres in his first professional start at No.12 while Nehe Milner-Skudder shifts to cover things at the back and Julian Savea recalled to the starting XV on the wing.

Bot sides know what's at stake tonight with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson excited for his men to prove they can still hold their own.

"We coach and play for these big games and it doesn’t get much bigger than hosting the Hurricanes at home for a spot at the top of the New Zealand conference," he said on Wednesday.

"The boys have worked through their individual preparation well this week and our All Blacks joined us again this morning and brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm, so there is no shortage of motivation for this match and it’s going to be a great spectacle for fans on Friday night."

TEAMS

CRU: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett

CRU subs: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Chris King, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor

HUR: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith

HUR subs: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jonah Lowe



Jamie Joseph stepping down as Sunwolves coach to focus on Japan's RWC campaign

The Sunwolves will have a fourth head coach in four seasons of Super Rugby after Jamie Joseph announced he'll stand aside in 2019.

Japan national coach Joseph will instead concentrate on preparing the Brave Blossoms for next year's World Cup, which they will host.

He will play a part in appointing next year's Sunwolves coaching staff.

Tony Brown will be favoured to be promoted from assistant coach to head coach, potentially mirroring the same transition that took place at New Zealand's Highlanders in 2017.

Joseph revealed the change at a news conference in Tokyo before the launch of events to celebrate one year to go to the World Cup.

The 48-year-old New Zealander succeeded Filo Tiatia as head coach this year and failed to prevent the Sunwolves picking up the wooden spoon for the second time in their three-year existence.

They also finished last in their inaugural 2016 campaign under Mark Hammett.

The Sunwolves, who have won six of 46 games, look set to struggle again next year.

Josephy revealed a number of his Japanese international players on the Sunwolves roster will sit out the opening rounds of Super Rugby to ensure they are peaking for the World Cup.

Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph. Source: Photosport


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TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

World Rugby urges players to cover tattoos at Japan 2019 to 'respect the culture' and avoid offence

World Rugby organisers have advised players competing at the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as supporters, to cover up any tattoos in public to avoid causing offence, with markings easily mistaken to be associated with Yakuza, a Japanese mafia.

There is also an education programme put in place by the organisers, which gives information about appropriate footwear to wear indoor and outdoors.

Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin says the Japanese people will be aware that there will be players not accustomed to Japan's culture.

"We will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia," said Gilpin.

"That's where the issue comes from. We have done a lot in the last year or so with the teams to get them to understand that.

"When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction from them but there hasn't been at all. That is a great tribute to the sport itself and to the rugby players themselves."

Gilpin also said players with tattoos are expected to cover up by wearing a vest when swimming in a public pool.

"They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to respect the Japanese culture. If they are using a public pool they will have to cover up.

"Players will also have to wear different trainers indoors and outdoors. It will all be self-policing. We won't force any teams to cover up but they will want to because they want to be seen to be respecting the culture.

"Whether it is Scotland, Ireland, Wales or Italy, who have all been there recently, they all get it, they really do."

Beauden Barrett celebrates his try with Aaron Smith.
2nd Bledisloe Cup Test of the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship.
New Zealand All Blacks v Australia (Wallabies) at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on 25 August 2018.
Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Beauden Barrett celebrates with Aaron Smith. Source: Photosport

The Rugby World Cup begins on September 20 in 2019 with the opening match to be played between the host nation Japan and Russia at Tokyo Stadium.

Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Saturday 15th September 2018. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / © www.Photosport.nz 2018
Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Source: Photosport

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

French rugby skipper Mathieu Bastareaud suspended for five weeks for sickening swinging forearm on prone rival

French rugby skipper and midfielder Mathieu Bastareaud has been suspended for five weeks after his brutal attack on a rival in a Top 14 match in Toulon last week.

The French disciplinary committee handed the Toulon centre a five-match ban, after he was sent off for a swinging forearm attack on Castres lock Christophe Samson while he was lying prone on the ground.

Bastareaud was initially handed a six week ban for the foul play and was given an extra week due to his poor disciplinary record.

But because the 30-year-old pleaded guilty and showed remorse after his attack he had his suspension reduced by two weeks.

He will miss five games for Toulon but will be available for France's Test matches against South Africa, Argentina and Fiji in November.

Bastareaud attacked Castres lock Christophe Samson with a swinging forearm while he was on the ground during a Top 14 match in Toulon. Source: CANAL +


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Wallabies legend backs under-fire Cheika to lead team to another strong World Cup campaign

Thursday marks one year till the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup but former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock is urging Australian fans not to panic.

Even if they have every right to.

"They've still got time," Mortlock told AAP when asked if under-fire coach Michael Cheika had the capacity to arrest the Wallabies' alarming decline from 2015 finalists to an all-time low ranking of seventh in the world following Saturday's sobering loss to Argentina.

"You've only got to look at the last World Cup. 'Cheik' only had the team for less than 12 months.

"So it can be done.

"It's more a case of what's happening now and the systemic issues that are creating the poor results of late.

"That's probably more the question: What specifically do they need to do better to consistently turns these defeats around?

"A lot of them are quite narrow, barring the ones against New Zealand."

The concern for Mortlock is the Wallabies' troubles are widespread, though not necessarily deep rooted - and certainly not irreversible.

Australia's 2007 World Cup captain nominated the Wallabies' inconsistent defensive displays, ill-discipline, "robotic" attack and long-running lineout woes as the four chief issues holding Cheika's side back.

"It can be turned around and, once things start falling in place, it can happen quite quickly," Mortlock said.

"However, there's four things I've highlighted that need to be consistently done at a high level when it matters the most. That's Test-match footy.

"But questions need to be asked a little bit about these facets of our game because they've been off - and they're considerably off."

Just how off is evident in the Wallabies' dreadful record against the top-tier nations since he took the helm in October, 2014.

Since then, Australia are two from 11 against the top-ranked All Blacks, one from five against world No.2 Ireland and one from seven against Eddie Jones' England, who the Wallabies haven't beaten since the 2015 World Cup.

The Wallabies have also lost their past two encounters with Scotland and beaten South Africa only once in their past four starts before slumping to their first defeat to Argentina on home soil in 35 years.

All up, the Wallabies have an unflattering 50 per cent winning strike rate under Cheika - 26 wins from 52 Tests.

The good news is they are a combined seven from seven against their 2019 World Cup Pool D rivals Wales (4-0), Fiji (2-0), Uruguay (1-0) and Georgia since his appointment.

Only a complete disaster would stop the two-time champions and four-time World Cup finalists from safely progressing to the knockout stages in Japan.

Even a loss and finishing second in their pool wouldn't be the end of the world given Australia's quarter-final opponents will be tough regardless, coming from Pool C's group of death containing England, Argentina, France, Tonga and the USA.

In any case, Mortlock maintains Cheika is the man to lead the Wallabies to the global showpiece despite calls for his head growing louder.

"Cheika's a fantastic championship coach," Mortlock said.

"He's really good at getting everybody aligned and armed and ready to go in to battle for something unique and obviously now that's the World Cup in the next 12 months.

"That's going to be his sole focus and I'd argue he's in his element when he's got something really specific to focus on.

"If I go back to prior to him getting the last World Cup coaching gig, when he took the Waratahs to the (Super Rugby) championship in 2014, there were a lot of things that he did that were effective.

"He has an ability to galvanise the team to go hard towards an end goal.

"So he went very well in 2015 with limited preparation so I very much think he's still the right man to steer us through a campaign."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika during the Wallabies Captain's Run at Eden Park ahead of this weekend's Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship match in Auckland. Friday 14 August 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika Source: Photosport


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