The Crusaders v Hurricanes fixtures are usually tense and competitive affairs. But in this one, the Crusaders won the first half 31-0 in one the most complete performances of the competition so far. Sure, the Canes were down a few All Blacks and needed time to gather themselves. But the Crusaders can’t control what state the opposition is in. What they can control though, is their own performance and skill execution. And they would execute some serious skills here.
Let’s dissect some of the most epic skills from the Crusaders near-faultless first half.
Crusaders v Hurricanes | Why Scott Barrett is too good for Super Rugby
Scott Barrett played so well in this game, we think he looks like a 16-year old playing in U14 grade. 40 seconds into the game he is already making his mark, minimising the angle his Brother has to kick and giving the Crusaders early territory.
Whenever a Barrett comes in contact with another Barrett the cliche of ‘they did this in the back yard’ is usually thrown around. But Scott does seem to predict the exact movement his brother will take before launching the kick here.
Another big moment from Scott Barrett comes in the 5th minute as the Hurricanes get some much-needed possession from a set play. He comes straight through the line-out as a rampaging blindside flanker would, and disrupts the pass.
The All Black is on a roll already, and just a few minutes later he’s clearing out a ruck with the Crusaders on red-hot attack.
Then literally during the same ruck, he’s on his feet and ready to carry. The try looks effortless like he’s playing against a lower grade.
The final piece of Scott Barrett brilliance is this interception. Watch as he positions himself perfectly before sticking out a giant mit to stop the Hurricane’s attack cold.
Scott Barrett was certainly playing like an All Black should in this game, and he wasn’t the only one.
Crusaders v Hurricanes | Jack Goodhue and the horizontal one-handed offload
Jack Goodhue was looking destructive right from the get-go. Here in the 7th minute, he busts a tackle and two Hurricanes players have to take him down. This would lead up to the Barrett try above.
But his most memorable moment would come later in the game, as the Hurricanes got a turnover. The pass goes to ground, and we can already see Goodhue positioning himself as a support runner.
The pass isn’t perfect, but Goodhue is unfazed. He catches the ball one-handed while falling over, and flicks an offload behind his back before hitting the ground.
The most impressive aspects of this offload are how it’s done entirely in Goodhue’s left hand, and how he uses the momentum of his fall to get the ball away.
Last week we took a look at some of the new skills the Kiwi teams were bringing to the table in Super Rugby 2019. If you would like to see more skills analysed, take a look at the article below.
If you watched this game, you know that Goodhue’s horizontal offload wasn’t even the best Crusaders offload. Let’s take a look at how Mataele’s magic pass was engineered.
Crusaders v Hurricanes | Mataele and the try that should never have been
The Crusaders start with a maul from the line-out, which draws in the Hurricane’s forwards. They then put on a show like they’re going to the open-side. There are convincing players in motion on the open-side, and Mataele (bottom of frame) is even moving in that direction.
Now the trap is set they switch the play. However, Mataele still looks well defended.
He beats one defender and loses his footing near the sideline. But then this happens.
Not only is Mataele blind to where his support player is, but he also has to worry about staying in play at the same time he throws this pass. How he even got his arm into that position while basically doing a forward roll is astonishing.
Mo’Unga is somehow expecting this offload and finishes well.
Can anyone beat the Crusaders if they continue the form from this first half? Let us know down below.
Author: The 1014 Rugby and Henry Stokes