Reds beat Crusaders to break 25-year Christchurch drought

rugby04 May 2024 05:13| © AFP
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Tim Ryan © Gallo Images

Dynamic winger Tim Ryan scored two tries as the Reds beat the Crusaders 33-28 on Saturday to land their first Super Rugby win in Christchurch for 25 years.

In another blow to the Crusaders' hopes of defending their title, the Australian visitors scored five tries to four, including the double to 20-year-old flyer Ryan.

His second propelled the Reds 12 points clear entering the final quarter and the Crusaders couldn't haul them back, despite a late try to winger Sevu Reece.

Ryan, who scored a hat-trick of tries on debut in last week's 41-34 loss to the Blues, was dangerous throughout as the Reds notched a fifth win from 10 matches to climb to fifth in the standings.

Reds captain Liam Wright said his team were full of resolve after a number of narrow defeats this season.

"It's massive, the boys really banded together after a season full of close losses," Wright said.

"We did a great job to hold on, there were some big moments there by key players."

The first loss at home to Queensland since 1999 was also the eighth defeat of the season for the Crusaders, who languish in 10th place with four rounds remaining.

They again paid for a high error count and for untimely injuries, with All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder having been ruled out before kickoff and captain Scott Barrett exiting in the early stages.

Outstanding flanker Fraser McReight and Ryan crossed early for the Reds before Dallas McLeod reduced the scoreline to 14-7 at the interval.

The home side levelled at 21-21 following tries to forwards Corey Kellow and Quinten Strange, but the Reds led again when Harry Wilson charged down a clearance from fly-half David Havili and scored.

Long-serving Wales test fullback Leigh Halfpenny made a low-key competition debut for the Crusaders and was replaced soon after halftime.


Earlier in the day, Moana Pasifika couldn't rise to the occasion in the first-ever Super Rugby game played in Tonga, losing 28-17 to the Highlanders in atrocious weather.

Heavy rain and sodden ground conditions dampened the atmosphere in Nuku'alofa, along with the hard-working visitors, who scored three tries to two.

All the tries came in the first half as the Highlanders built a 19-17 lead, and the New Zealand side pulled clear after the interval through three penalty goals to fly-half Cameron Millar.

Moana began strongly, scoring tries through prop Abraham Pole and fullback William Havili, but the Highlanders responded each time, through fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, who crossed twice, and winger Connor Garden-Bachop.

A second straight victory for the Highlanders means they'll stay just inside the top eight, while Moana will be ninth or worse by the end of the round, depending on other results.