Five things we learnt from Crusaders - Queensland Reds

Sat, May 4, 2024, 6:37 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Tim Ryan finishes off some electric work from the Reds in Round 11 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

The Queensland Reds finally got a close game to go their way, holding on for a 33-28 win over the Crusaders.

The victory will do wonders for their confidence and show they can be a real threat in this competition when on their game, securing their first win in Christchurch since 1999.

Catch every game of Super Rugby Pacific LIVE, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sport.

So what did we learn?

1. Welcome back Fraser McReight

Fraser McReight reminded everyone why he's one of the best in the world over the breakdown on his return from suspension.

The Crusaders dominated the opening quarter but McReight kept shutting them with perfect snipes at the ruck to force the penalty, capitalising on ref Jordan Way’s focus around the breakdown. 

His three turnovers in the first half put him top of the Super Rugby Pacific table despite the two-game suspension.

McReight then showed off his try-scoring ability to finish for the opening try of the game, completing a near-perfect performance from the flanker on his return.

2. Special plays, special players

The Reds’ core stepped up and helped decide the contest for a famous win in Christchurch.

It started with Harry Wilson’s charge-down try, halting the Crusaders' momentum and rewarding the work-horse with a crucial five-pointer.

Wilson was involved in the action late in the game alongside Josh Flook, shrugging off a nagging shoulder issue to rip the ball cleanly and force the mistake with seconds remaining.

Wallaby Zane Nonggorr also came up with the breakdown penalty after Wilson's try to stop a sudden response from the hosts.

These plays have eluded the Reds in past games, who can take great confidence out of finally winning the close one.

3. Back to the drawing board

The Crusaders will be sweating on the fitness of Scott Barrett as they drop a crucial game in their quest to sneak into the finals

Barrett suddenly exited the game after a physical hit-up, causing the ball to dislodge and their opening try to Cullen Grace to be denied. It was confirmed the second-rower had suffered a back injury, a tough blow after his return from a broken finger.

It took them time to adjust to his absence, almost pulling off a miraculous win as winger Sevu Reece almost single-handedly won the game whilst David Havili had his moments in the win.

They face a must-win match against the Highlanders next week, needing victories before big matches against the Brumbies and Blues.

4. Every dog has his day (again)

Tim Ryan’s dream fortnight continues as he proves he has the magic touch.

He touched the ball three times across the eighty minutes. He scored twice, finishing in the corner before braving a physical hit to dive over for a crucial try.

What will please Les Kiss is the way his defence held up, especially in the first half. He played above his weight, making ten in the first half without a miss. Ryan dropped off a couple late in the game and walked gingerly after his second five-pointer

Sometimes when you need a spark, you just need to find the hot hand.

5. Camp-bell of the ball

Jock Campbell flies under the radar and produces brilliance when his team needs it.

All the chat was around his back three buddy Tim Ryan but Campbell stood up in Christchurch to spark the Reds’ first-half dominance.

After a tough start, he broke the line with a determined carry in the 21st minute that eventually led to McReight’s opening try, breaking four defenders. He then showed the pose to back up Josh Flook’s break and find Mac Grealy to set up Ryan’s fourth try in two games.

He was joined in kind by Hunter Paisami, Grealy and Lawson Creighton, all superb 

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