SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

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booji boy
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by booji boy »

Kiwias wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:26 am
booji boy wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:24 am The breakdance routine lives! 8) :smug: :thumbup:
my link dropped just before he did it :x :x
He's clearly aging, not quite the smooth rhythm and tempo he once displayed but class nonetheless.
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Hareaway
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Hareaway »

Ok I’m out ... watching Goldie say “the crusaders have struggled this year “
Seriously how have they struggled ? ... ffs get out of crusaders butt hole and take old man Ian smith with you ....
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by JB1981 »

Reflecting on Mounga’s play in the last 20 minutes when things got close, it was reminiscent of DC in the 2015 final the way he took control - even nailing a drop goal too. His composure, management and execution were outstanding.
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Dark
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Dark »

Cool

Another year. Another win.

Weird moment. A pal who is a Chiefs fan turned to me at the end and said "Great game. Should we not worship people from the Crusaders and their supporters? They seem like gods amongst us mere mortals!"

Thought it was a bit OTT

ITBF I had had this point brought up before by opposition fans and just shook my head humbly and said "Mate. Was just our lucky day today"
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by mrbrownstone »

Don't have a proper analysis but how bloody good.

Mo'unga out of this world.

So, so happy with that :D
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Auckman »

Yes, one of the great first-five performances from Richie Mo'unga tonight. Simply superb. That's in a team full of great performances.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by mr bungle »

booji boy wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:28 am
Kiwias wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:26 am
booji boy wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:24 am The breakdance routine lives! 8) :smug: :thumbup:
my link dropped just before he did it :x :x
He's clearly aging, not quite the smooth rhythm and tempo he once displayed but class nonetheless.
Wet turf + dress shoes.
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guy smiley
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by guy smiley »

Shot down to the local to watch that on a decent screen.

Lovely night out.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by les@mooloolaba »

Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:23 am
Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 am Hard luck Chiefs fans. That was the toughest final of the previous four (no final last year) and the Chiefs could easily have won tonight. You have a great young team and I think you're going to win a title in the next couple of years. You should be very proud of your team this year, they have played brilliantly. An your coach Clayton McMillian looks like a very good coach.
Cheers AC. I think the skill gap was quite wide andxwe never looked like winning.

It would have been bloody interesting if Bridge was carded and a penalty try given for deliberately knocking the ball dead - but we didnt deserve to be any closer than we were anyway.

Like I said at the start of the season, it was a comp to see who would come second.
Disagree Enz, we were always in the game, just kicked possession to a team you never kick to unless it is for the sideline. We missed 3 penalties and if we were in front, it may have changed the way the Saders played.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by les@mooloolaba »

Dark wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:45 am Cool

Another year. Another win.

Weird moment. A pal who is a Chiefs fan turned to me at the end and said "Great game. Should we not worship people from the Crusaders and their supporters? They seem like gods amongst us mere mortals!"

Thought it was a bit OTT

ITBF I had had this point brought up before by opposition fans and just shook my head humbly and said "Mate. Was just our lucky day today"
Obviously not a real Chiefs fan. :?
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Eugenius »

I was worried sick most of the game , I thought the Chiefs bloody dangerous .

Ritchie was the key player and quite how we dominated with only 13 is beyond me .

Very impressive maturity from overall a young forward pack .
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Kiwias »

Eugenius wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:24 pm I was worried sick most of the game , I thought the Chiefs bloody dangerous .

Ritchie was the key player and quite how we dominated with only 13 is beyond me .

Very impressive maturity from overall a young forward pack .
The backrow is ridiculously young and short on experience but damn, they were good tonight, Blackadder the best IMHO.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Ted. »

les@mooloolaba wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:49 am
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:23 am
Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 am Hard luck Chiefs fans. That was the toughest final of the previous four (no final last year) and the Chiefs could easily have won tonight. You have a great young team and I think you're going to win a title in the next couple of years. You should be very proud of your team this year, they have played brilliantly. An your coach Clayton McMillian looks like a very good coach.
Cheers AC. I think the skill gap was quite wide andxwe never looked like winning.

It would have been bloody interesting if Bridge was carded and a penalty try given for deliberately knocking the ball dead - but we didnt deserve to be any closer than we were anyway.

Like I said at the start of the season, it was a comp to see who would come second.
Disagree Enz, we were always in the game, just kicked possession to a team you never kick to unless it is for the sideline. We missed 3 penalties and if we were in front, it may have changed the way the Saders played.
Yep, 5 times out of ten, whereas the Chiefs just hoisted it up to the back three.

The Canes do the same. Dumb and Dumber. :(
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Peteray »

JB1981 wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:34 am Reflecting on Mounga’s play in the last 20 minutes when things got close, it was reminiscent of DC in the 2015 final the way he took control - even nailing a drop goal too. His composure, management and execution were outstanding.
And in the pre-match Aaron Smith said that is what would happen too.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by True Blue »

Not the Crusaders fault but every year they keep winning the tournament it becomes less and less interesting to the casual fans. We don't want a scottish soccer league scenario where one team wins year over year.

I think the only solution to this is to disband North Harbour and salt their fields.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Morgan14 »

Some terrific skills on display. And chapeau to the Crusaders for their performance down to 13 men, it seemed to galvanize them on to victory. Very impressive.

As usual, my thoughts / feelings / readings of the game were wrong - I was just thinking huh, Mounga's been a little quiet, and almost immediately he makes that lovely break, and takes control the rest of the way.

Congrats to the Chiefs for making the final, from winless last year to this. Well done.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by tubbyj »

les@mooloolaba wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:49 am
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:23 am
Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 am Hard luck Chiefs fans. That was the toughest final of the previous four (no final last year) and the Chiefs could easily have won tonight. You have a great young team and I think you're going to win a title in the next couple of years. You should be very proud of your team this year, they have played brilliantly. An your coach Clayton McMillian looks like a very good coach.
Cheers AC. I think the skill gap was quite wide andxwe never looked like winning.

It would have been bloody interesting if Bridge was carded and a penalty try given for deliberately knocking the ball dead - but we didnt deserve to be any closer than we were anyway.

Like I said at the start of the season, it was a comp to see who would come second.
Disagree Enz, we were always in the game, just kicked possession to a team you never kick to unless it is for the sideline. We missed 3 penalties and if we were in front, it may have changed the way the Saders played.
Went to the game. Great game on a unusually mild Christchurch night and a great atmosphere. Crowd was very anxious from the time Mackenzie scored right up to the last few minutes. No Mexican wave like there usually is with a full house as everyone was on the edge of their seats and watching the game.

Watching it live, from the Mackenzie try on, the Chiefs seemed to have the ascendancy in the game. They just weren't making mistakes and every time the Crusaders found space or offloaded a defender seemed to arrive just as quick. The Mackenzie misses were costly and the rain seemed to really turn it in the Crusaders favour as the slippery ball took away the assured and confident handling the Chiefs had been exhibiting.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Enzedder »

Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Dan54. »

I hope Boshier ok, I was a bit disappointed at Blackadder seemingly trying to do his knee when he was injured. I might of seen wrong, but look what happens when he he got injured, Blackadder looked to me to be trying or at least being pretty reckless wrenching his leg like that.
And that not a dig at Crusaders or anything, just looked ugly to me.
I would also add at beginning of year I commented on here I hoped that Razor would play Havili at 12 as I reckoned he was good enough to make ABs, and got rubbished a bit as he wasa 15 it seems. After his game last night I am convinced he looks the player I would like running there at least for a couple of tests, with ALB outside him.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by JB1981 »

Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Honours were shared. I give it a split decision with one half each and with the draw, the Chiefs retain their title ;).
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by guy smiley »

Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Remind me which captain got a warning early for high tackles?
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Ali's Choice »

guy smiley wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:13 pm
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Remind me which captain got a warning early for high tackles?
Can someone explain to me why Ian Smith and Marshall kept going on about a yellow card warning for "both teams" when at that stage the Chiefs were the only one's tackling high? It was ridiculous. Marshall was at his 'even-handed' worst, desperately trying to be critical of the Crusaders whenever he could so as to appear to be unbiased
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Ali's Choice »

As an aside, what a shit preparation for the upcoming SR Trans Tasman comp for these two teams, playing a final the week before the new comp starts? They'll both be physically and mentally exhausted, and no doubt both teams would have had a few Canterbury Draught's last night, which will impact recovery. Why couldn't they have had a week off between the comps? Especially as at this stage there are no test matches scheduled so it's not like there is time pressure to get the new comp finalised.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by guy smiley »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 pm
guy smiley wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:13 pm
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Remind me which captain got a warning early for high tackles?
Can someone explain to me why Ian Smith and Marshall kept going on about a yellow card warning for "both teams" when at that stage the Chiefs were the only one's tackling high? It was ridiculous. Marshall was at his 'even-handed' worst, desperately trying to be critical of the Crusaders whenever he could so as to appear to be unbiased
Marshall's actually getting worse.

You have to admire that sort of effort.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Enzedder »

Gotta hand it to the Sadists though - 5 in a row and not one was a lucky result.

Gotta say it

Spit

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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by guy smiley »

Cheers Enzo...

the camera cut away to the box a few times. It's great to see genuine emotion and fist pumping from coaches. Razor doesn't bother with all that stiff upper lip bullshit. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I think that's a good thing myself, as long as it doesn't get silly and turn into tear filled performance style drag shows.

I'm gonna throw out a wild bit of speculation and suggest that emotional 'realness' would be a massive part of the success he gets from his teams. Being genuine... there's all the smart ass talk of 'buy in' and the like... it's about being real.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Grandpa »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 pm
guy smiley wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:13 pm
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Remind me which captain got a warning early for high tackles?
Can someone explain to me why Ian Smith and Marshall kept going on about a yellow card warning for "both teams" when at that stage the Chiefs were the only one's tackling high? It was ridiculous. Marshall was at his 'even-handed' worst, desperately trying to be critical of the Crusaders whenever he could so as to appear to be unbiased
Because just before that was the high tackle by Jordan saving that try... then followed two Chiefs penalties and they got a warning... so it seemed fair to me that both sides should be warned considering the Crusaders had just done the same...

Anyway, I just hope Richie can play like that for the All Blacks. I've only seen him do it once. That game against Aussie last year. Maybe with BB away he'll have more confidence...
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Ali's Choice »

Some post-match thoughts;

- The difference between the two teams was Richie Mo'unga and the lineout.

- Richie Mo'unga saved his best game of the season for the final, and his game management was better than Gatland/McKenzie's. This was particularly noticeable when the Crusaders were down to 13 men.

- The Crusaders lineout pressured the Chiefs all night and their steals and spoils were very costly for the Chiefs. Even when the Chiefs did win ball it was often untidy. McMillan will rue selecting a shorter lineout to start the match, that just ceded further advantage of the Crusaders in this aspect of the game.

- The breakdown wasn't dominated by the Chiefs backrow as much I expected. Yes the Chiefs were better at the breakdown, but they weren't as dominant as they were in the last round-robin match. The Crusaders forwards worked harder to clean out. In the end I think breakdown penalties were probably pretty even. The Crusaders have the weakest backrow in the comp which makes their win even more remarkable.

- David Havili has so much time. He takes a lot of pressure off Mo'unga and allows Richie to run the ball with confidence knowing that there is someone to control the next phase of play. Attention Ian Foster that's what a real dual-playmaker system looks like.

- Damien McKenzie is a freak. He has all the skills in the world and most importantly, he has an amazing will to win. I love his attitude and his enthusiasm. I'm not so much of a fan of him playing at 10, but at 15 he is a genius because he can control when he inserts himself into the attack. He's also great under the high ball.

- Samisoni Taukei’aho is the most improved player in NZ in 2021.

- I have no issue with either of the yellow cards. Taylor was a bit unlucky as McKenzie launched himself at the ball, but that's still a yellow card under the laws. The Reece YC wasn't clear and obvious but the TMO seemed certain that he'd contacted directly to the head. They must have had a different view to what I saw.

- I'd be very surprised if both Angus Ta'avao and Aidan Ross aren't named in the AB's this year. They improved with every game and are now a world class duo of props.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by terangi48 »

A decent finale last night.........Chiefs brought their best game......Crusaders brought a better one.

Enjoyed the play to play battles being fought, and the territory gaining v possession keeping being enacted.

The difference in the end were the subtle touches of key players: Mounga, Havili and Jordan.....three must haves for the AB's.......and the physicality of Fai'anungu. Both packs almost stalemated.

The game was well reffed and adjudicated in the box,......agreed both were yellows.....and hard to adjudicate on the Taylor episode when a player jumps suddenly like that.....rule says you can't tackle someone in the air......no time to react.....yellow.

In the end....a clear result......and an amazing result for the Chiefs to ressurect their season to bypass the other teams to make the final.

Onya Crusaders on your fivepeat.......onya Chiefs for a great display of bottle.....
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by mrbrownstone »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:15 pm
guy smiley wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:13 pm
Enzedder wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 pm Oh, and AC - who's the thugs now eh?
Remind me which captain got a warning early for high tackles?
Can someone explain to me why Ian Smith and Marshall kept going on about a yellow card warning for "both teams" when at that stage the Chiefs were the only one's tackling high? It was ridiculous. Marshall was at his 'even-handed' worst, desperately trying to be critical of the Crusaders whenever he could so as to appear to be unbiased
He has useful insights at times, but when he gets into that kind of mood he's thick as shit. At that stage the Chiefs had given away 3 penalties and all 3 were for high tackles.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Dan54. »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:11 am Some post-match thoughts;





-

- I have no issue with either of the yellow cards. Taylor was a bit unlucky as McKenzie launched himself at the ball, but that's still a yellow card under the laws. The Reece YC wasn't clear and obvious but the TMO seemed certain that he'd contacted directly to the head. They must have had a different view to what I saw.

-
To be fair to the TMO, he kept saying to the ref it wasn't direct contact to head, I heard him say 3 times it was to high chest area and slipped up. But ref decided it was direct to head I think.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Ali's Choice »

Dan54. wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 2:54 am
Ali's Choice wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:11 am Some post-match thoughts;





-

- I have no issue with either of the yellow cards. Taylor was a bit unlucky as McKenzie launched himself at the ball, but that's still a yellow card under the laws. The Reece YC wasn't clear and obvious but the TMO seemed certain that he'd contacted directly to the head. They must have had a different view to what I saw.

-
To be fair to the TMO, he kept saying to the ref it wasn't direct contact to head, I heard him say 3 times it was to high chest area and slipped up. But ref decided it was direct to head I think.
You must have been watching different footage. What I saw was the referee repeatedly asking where the first contact was made, because it wasn't apparent on any of the footage, and the TMO repeatedly telling him it was contact with the head first. It was a very odd situation, and could have had a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Dan54. »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:18 pm As an aside, what a shit preparation for the upcoming SR Trans Tasman comp for these two teams, playing a final the week before the new comp starts? They'll both be physically and mentally exhausted, and no doubt both teams would have had a few Canterbury Draught's last night, which will impact recovery. Why couldn't they have had a week off between the comps? Especially as at this stage there are no test matches scheduled so it's not like there is time pressure to get the new comp finalised.
I said that last week when discussing the Chiefs standing down so many players , I suppose at least the Crusaders are playing Brumbies who also played a final last night. Chiefs got Force, and Reds got Highlanders.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by kiwigreg369 »

Bugger - close but never close enough and as mentioned above RMos game management in that 50-70 minutes was great. Well played.

On a personal level I’m a bit gutted that every player I was hoping to see step up was at best ok and some average - none of my picks to shine actually shone and made an AB spot (team or bench) theirs (Jordan / Havilli/ Hall or ALB / Weber / Vaai).

On the match it was generally quite enjoyable - captains challenges are kak (by definition how can Reece be foul play when 3 refs and the TMO missed it live - is it not then obvious foul play). I did feel Codie was a bit lucky at yellow only - that and his general play not being as excellent as early season for me mean he’s starting on the bench. I don’t think Jordan or DMAC unsettle Jordie at FB.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by les@mooloolaba »

Ali's Choice wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:11 am Some post-match thoughts;

- The difference between the two teams was Richie Mo'unga and the lineout.

- Richie Mo'unga saved his best game of the season for the final, and his game management was better than Gatland/McKenzie's. This was particularly noticeable when the Crusaders were down to 13 men.

- The Crusaders lineout pressured the Chiefs all night and their steals and spoils were very costly for the Chiefs. Even when the Chiefs did win ball it was often untidy. McMillan will rue selecting a shorter lineout to start the match, that just ceded further advantage of the Crusaders in this aspect of the game.

- The breakdown wasn't dominated by the Chiefs backrow as much I expected. Yes the Chiefs were better at the breakdown, but they weren't as dominant as they were in the last round-robin match. The Crusaders forwards worked harder to clean out. In the end I think breakdown penalties were probably pretty even. The Crusaders have the weakest backrow in the comp which makes their win even more remarkable.

- David Havili has so much time. He takes a lot of pressure off Mo'unga and allows Richie to run the ball with confidence knowing that there is someone to control the next phase of play. Attention Ian Foster that's what a real dual-playmaker system looks like.

- Damien McKenzie is a freak. He has all the skills in the world and most importantly, he has an amazing will to win. I love his attitude and his enthusiasm. I'm not so much of a fan of him playing at 10, but at 15 he is a genius because he can control when he inserts himself into the attack. He's also great under the high ball.

- Samisoni Taukei’aho is the most improved player in NZ in 2021.

- I have no issue with either of the yellow cards. Taylor was a bit unlucky as McKenzie launched himself at the ball, but that's still a yellow card under the laws. The Reece YC wasn't clear and obvious but the TMO seemed certain that he'd contacted directly to the head. They must have had a different view to what I saw.

- I'd be very surprised if both Angus Ta'avao and Aidan Ross aren't named in the AB's this year. They improved with every game and are now a world class duo of props.
Spot on AC.
With DMac i think he has figured out you dont have to make a break, or make something every time you get the ball, He has learnt to pick and choose when to run, pass and kick and that has the defence thinking.

I feel his kick decisions need work because I felt he kicked away valuable possession to the back 3 when the Chiefs needed possession, not giving Jordan, Havili or Mounga change to create mayhem. Deny the Saders backs possession and you blunt their try making ability.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by Enzedder »

Stuff's player ratings
OPINION: The Crusaders beat the Chiefs 24-13 in a hard-fought and see-sawing Super Rugby Aotearoa final on Saturday.

Stuff gives its verdict on the two teams after a compelling decider in Christchurch.

CRUSADERS

Will Jordan: Looked dangerous when given some space to wind up and picked up a trademark try by beating Damian McKenzie to the ball off a favourable bounce. Has the knack of being in the right place at the right time but dropped a high ball in the second half to show that he is human after all. 7.5

Sevu Reece: Took this opening try brilliantly and covered an enormous amount of ground defensively. There is no one better in New Zealand when it comes to coverting chances in tight spaces, and Reece is probably making better reads in defence than his breakout year in 2019. Docked a mark for his yellow card but he’s back in All Blacks form. 7.5

Leicester Fainga’anuku: His form has been so good the Crusaders may keep him at No 13 even when Jack Goodhue is back and Braydon Ennor is fully fit. Smashed his way past anyone wearing a Chiefs jersey and his leg drive is phenomenal. 8

David Havili: One of the Crusaders’ best on attack with his eye for a gap, good footwork and deceptive strength. Also set up Jordan’s try with a deft kick. But his contribution was felt on both sides of the ball as he muscled up in defence. Could the All Blacks be tempted into changing up their midfield model to put a genuine second playmaker in the No 12 jersey? 7.5

George Bridge: Flew into everything as the Crusaders brought a serious amount of intensity into the contest – a mark of respect to their rivals. Was one bounce away from picking up a try in the first half from a Richie Mo’unga crossfield kick but was very lucky to get away with knocking the ball dead in his own in-goal. 6

Richie Mo’unga: His flat pass to set up Reece for his try was a beauty and the No 10 was razor sharp all evening. Took on the line when needed and then stepped up a gear in the final quarter to drive the Crusaders home. Second-half drop goal suggests he learnt his lesson from the Crusaders' loss in Hamilton and continues to grow as a player even after five titles in a row. 9

Mitchell Drummond: Accurate box kicking was used as a real weapon for the Crusaders in the first half. Replaced after 53 minutes by Bryn Hall, who offered a bit more on attack as the Crusaders closed the game out. 6.5

Cullen Grace: Strong shift from the young No 8 as he made some strong carries and was accurate on defence. Perhaps not as punishing as he was last year but was far from overawed in the big occasion. 6.5

Tom Sanders: The No 7 jersey isn’t his best position but he put his big shoulders to work in 56 minutes of solid work that also featured some nice touches with ball in hand. However, he was outpointed by Lachlan Boshier after starting in place of Sione Havili Talitui as a late replacement. 6

Ethan Blackadder: The pick of the bunch in the Crusaders’ back row, as has been the case for most of the season. Afterwards, coach Scott Robertson hailed his work on defence but he was also a constant threat with ball in hand. 7.5

Sam Whitelock: Soared high early to steal a Chiefs lineout and was part of an outstanding Crusaders forward effort when they had two men in the bin. The Chiefs just couldn’t get their scrum or lineout working in that period, which is a credit to the champions. 7

Scott Barrett: Influential evening for the captain, who kept his calm even as Reece was sent to the sin bin in the second half to reduce the Crusaders to 13 men. Also showed good discipline at the breakdown to keep on the right side of Ben O’Keeffe. Possibly his best outing of the year. 7.5

Michael Alaalatoa: Good battle with Aidan Ross at the set-piece but less prominent with ball in hand than fellow tighthead Angus Ta’avao. Was replaced after 63 minutes of typically dependable graft, but neither tight five exerted real dominance in a game that was played with width and pace. 6

Codie Taylor: Was looking at a red card if Damian McKenzie had landed on his head following a clumsy mid-air tackle in the second half. Knew as soon as he made contact that he got his timing wrong. Wasn’t at his best around the paddock, where rival Samisoni Taukei’aho showed up strongly. 5

George Bower: Was a key contributor as the Crusaders scrum started to apply a bit of pressure midway through the second half, even though he was deep into his 65-minute shift. Something of a late bloomer but a quality prop now. 6.5

Reserves:

Brodie McAlister: Only saw 10 minutes of action as a replacement for Taylor when he was in the sin bin. N/A

Tamaiti Williams: Hard to rate as only played for the last 15 minutes, but the Crusaders’ scrum looked good in the final quarter. 5

Oli Jager: Like Williams, the Irishman was only on for a short period (17 minutes). 5.5

Mitchell Dunshea: Saw only eight minutes of action at the end. Has probably deserved more opportunties this year.

Whetukamokamo Douglas: Busy 17 minutes off the bench as he backed up breaks with good support lines and defended well. 6

Bryn Hall: Linked up well with Mo’unga after the No 10 broke open the Chiefs from deep, and took a mature decision to recycle when he couldn’t find a support player. 6.5

Braydon Ennor: Limited involved (17 minutes) reflected how lightly the Crusaders used their bench. 5

Paul Cully

CHIEFS

Damian McKenzie: Excellent finish for their only try and was a constant threat as the Chiefs fought back in the first half. Runs like the wind. His reliable boot, which kicked the Chiefs into the final, was astray, though, and missed three penalty goals. Put his body on the line in defence but Mo'unga won the No 10 duel when McKenzie moved to first-five. 6

Jonah Lowe: Quick and strong, he was unlucky to be denied a wonder try with a cute finish in the right corner, then more remarkable Crusaders defence prevented him breaking clear for an intercept. Eats metres and troubles defenders. 7

Anton Lienert-Brown: Immense in defence, stepping up after struggles earlier in the season, and when he plays well, so do the Chiefs, but couldn't spark their attack when the Crusaders lost players to yellow cards in the second half. 6

Alex Nankivell: An early intercept pass was costly as the Crusaders got on the front foot, but his turnover penalty and offload for McKenzie's opening try were brilliant. 6

Etene Nanai-Seturo: Solid under the high ball and a mighty left boot, he has all the skills but didn't get much possession and gave away two first-half penalties for careless high shots. Leaving 15s for sevens to go for gold in the Tokyo Olympics. 5

Bryn Gatland: Complemented McKenzie's flair with his reliable and composed play, as well as making his own smart break, but didn't make much impact. Replaced just after half-time. 5

Brad Weber: Tough. How did he stand up after getting bulldozed by Leicester Fainga'anuku? Brave performance as the Crusaders threw the kitchen sink his way but wasn't as effective with his dangerous running game and didn't finish the match. 6

Luke Jacobson: A strong, evasive carrier, who must be close to an All Blacks recall, he was a breakdown menace and ran hard into walls of red and black. 7

Lachlan Boshier: Turnover king got through a mountain of work, led the tackle count for the visitors, and his long punt into the Crusaders' territory was one of the kicks of the match. Injured his knee with a late steal and looked in pain. 7

Pita Gus Sowakula: Looked uncomfortable with his new position to start with, after moving from No 8, but grew into the game and made things happen before a quieter second half. 6

Mitchell Brown: Workhorse, but his lack of height in the lineout against towering Crusaders such as All Black Whitelock was a problem for the Chiefs. Better in the back row. Replaced at half-time. 4

Tupou Vaa'i: One of the most dependable locks in the game in just his second Super Rugby season, he carries with so much authority, goes quietly and efficiently about his work from ruck to ruck, and seemed to love the physicality brought by the Crusaders. Lost possession late on when the Chiefs were pushing for a try to take the lead. 6

Angus Ta'avao: His return at tighthead has boosted the front row tenfold. Led by example and got stuck into the ugly stuff around the breakdown. Scrum held up while he was on the field. 7

Samisoni Taukei'aho: Good luck to any defender trying to stop him with the ball in his hand, but there are still question marks about his lineout throwing. Too many were stolen by the gleeful Crusaders forwards. 5

Aidan Ross: Conceded a costly early penalty as the Crusaders countered to dominate in the opening quarter, but his scrummaging was strong, as always, and against the fabled Crusaders' front row. 6

Reserves

Bradley Slater: Replaced Taukei'aho and his throwing was more solid in an improved lineout, but still gave some away. Can't fault his work rate. 5

Ollie Norris: Replaced Ross in the second half and the scrum was just as strong on his side. Improving all the time. 6

Sione Mafileo: Late replacement for Ta'avao and the scrum lost momentum as the Crusaders finished strongly. 5

Naitoa Ah Kuoi: Replaced Brown at half-time and the lineout was better for it. Adjusted well to the pace of a frenetic final and should have started. 6

Zane Kapeli: Late replacement for Boshier for a fairytale final appearance in only his second Chiefs match. Not much time to make an impact. 5

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi: He was steady at halfback while Weber was off for 10 minutes in the first half and helped create McKenzie's try. Returned for the final 11 minutes as their hopes faded. 6

Rameka Poihipi: Late replacement for Nankivell and has the size, skills and power to be a quality midfielder. 5

Chase Tiatia: Thrown into the fire after the break and immediately got involved in an attack that almost led to a try. Less effective afterwards. 5

Joseph Pearson
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jdogscoop
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by jdogscoop »

JB1981 wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:34 am Reflecting on Mounga’s play in the last 20 minutes when things got close, it was reminiscent of DC in the 2015 final the way he took control - even nailing a drop goal too. His composure, management and execution were outstanding.
:nod: Very well put.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by booji boy »

What is the general view of Leicester Fainga’anuku? All the talk was about Havili at 12, Goodhue being injured and Ennor coming back but I thought this guy was outstanding. Hard, straight running in the mold of great All Black centres like Joe Stanley and Frank Bunce. Paired with a ballplayer at 2nd five he could be just the type of hard running midfielder we've missed since the retirement of Nonu.

What do others think of him? Is he talented enough to challenge for higher honours?

Must admit I don't feel like I've seen enough of him to judge but thought he was outstanding last night.
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by jdogscoop »

booji boy wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 6:25 am What is the general view of Leicester Fainga’anuku? All the talk was about Havili at 12, Goodhue being injured and Ennor coming back but I thought this guy was outstanding. Hard, straight running in the mold of great All Black centres like Joe Stanley and Frank Bunce. Paired with a ballplayer at 2nd five he could be just the type of hard running midfielder we've missed since the retirement of Nonu.

What do others think of him? Is he talented enough to challenge for higher honours?

Must admit I don't feel like I've seen enough of him to judge but thought he was outstanding last night.
Yeah went very well. I've been thinking a bit about his midfield partner Havili though. Is that the kind of guile we've been missing in the AB midfield?
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Re: SR Aotearoa Final: Crusaders vs Chiefs: MATCH THREAD: Sat 8th May

Post by booji boy »

jdogscoop wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 6:59 am
booji boy wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 6:25 am What is the general view of Leicester Fainga’anuku? All the talk was about Havili at 12, Goodhue being injured and Ennor coming back but I thought this guy was outstanding. Hard, straight running in the mold of great All Black centres like Joe Stanley and Frank Bunce. Paired with a ballplayer at 2nd five he could be just the type of hard running midfielder we've missed since the retirement of Nonu.

What do others think of him? Is he talented enough to challenge for higher honours?

Must admit I don't feel like I've seen enough of him to judge but thought he was outstanding last night.
Yeah went very well. I've been thinking a bit about his midfield partner Havili though. Is that the kind of guile we've been missing in the AB midfield?
Havili has been playing very well but I think ALB is still the best midfielder in the country and is equally adept at 12 or 13 depending who he is paired with.
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