Last Updated: 11/07/20 10:38am
The Crusaders saw off an intense challenge from the Blues in a furious final quarter to complete a 26-15 victory in their vital Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Christchurch on Saturday.
The home side have won all of their Super Rugby Aotearoa matches and ended the Blues’ seven-game winning streak across both Super Rugby and the area competition.
The Crusaders seemed to be sparked into a furious response when centre Braydon Ennor charged down an attempted conversion by Otere Black of a controversial Rieko Ioane try.
Ioane crossed in the 55th minute when his side took a quick tap penalty following an attacking five-metre scrum that appeared to have already been wrongly awarded by referee Paul Williams.
Richie Mo’unga then took a quick restart and gathered the ball which triggered the Crusaders storming back, with scrum-half Mitchell Drummond crossing to give the home side a 16-15 lead, their to begin the game.
Mo’unga added his fourth penalty and Will Jordan scored his fifth decide to try in the last three games to maintain their four-year winning streak at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
The match have been billed all week because the long-awaited re-ignition of a powerful rivalry that stretches back in provincial rugby for more than a century with both teams unbeaten in the New Zealand-only competition.
The near sell-out crowd were not disappointed with the overall game played at near Test-match intensity with the Blues creating immense early pressure.
The early momentum set up a 10th-minute decide to try by Mark Telea ahead of the Crusaders worked their way into Blues’ territory and forced a string of penalties, which allowed Mo’unga to ensure they were only trailing 7-6 at half-time.
The intensity continued in the next half with Black and Mo’unga trading penalties before Ioane crossed, which only sparked the Crusaders’ furious response.