Tonight’s game looked entertaining on a Saturday night like this from Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The first 40 was close, where the Highlanders lead by three points by the halfway mark.
But the lack of finishing from the Highlanders despite winning penalties and building up the attack saw the forwards have to do the heavy lifting in the defense alone.
It turned out to be difficult for them to arrest the Crusaders free-flowing attacking rugby in the end.
Now that the game already over, it’s time to reward the Top 3 players coming from both teams combined.
Again, we all admire his pace and finishing.
Last week, he played at full-back, tonight, he plays in the right-wing position.
So pretty much, he’s versatile.
Thanks to the successful build-up play via the significant muscle power from the forwards and the beautiful passing of his backline troops, it made a massive difference for Jordan to sort out things right.
Having scored two tries himself between the start & finish of the Crusaders’ rewards, as long as this guy continues to perform like this, then he will be a nightmare for all forwards out there facing him.
And in return, his constant finishing could be on the highlights we see as most valuable in this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.
He pretty much orchestrated his Crusaders troops to spread out either wide whenever the Highlanders struggle to fill.
Furthermore, Drummond does wait when building set phases in the attack as well as the scrummaging & driving mauls.
His quick cleanouts in tough situations are also a crucial part of Drummond’s role as a scrum-half.
So that’s why he ticks all the boxes in our Top 3 best performers tonight.
His presence allows (backline and forwards) them to get to work straight away, which demonstrates their trademark brand of rugby in the end.
His kicking skills, especially the accuracy between the sticks, are the highlight tonight for the Highlanders.
With the assistance of winning penalties, it allowed Hunt to fulfill his potential & cash in on these extra points.
Unfortunately, it’s just the lack of finishing from his backline staff that let him down.
If he had the chance to get things right & win it, then Hunt would want help from his team-mates to expand beyond his goalkicking skills into the finishing section.
That means to complete a successful attack, the playmaking skills, including the accurate passes & marking out, is required.
Tonight, nothing much has happened within the last 30 mins where the forwards doing the work by themselves to fend off under pressure is too much, too hard.
The Crusaders go up against the in-form Auckland Blues side at home next Saturday night.
They may be one of the attacking sides in this competition, including the big meat of muscle from the forwards.
But the question is, can they fix up the defending such as the line-outs and foiling the opposition attack?
We’ll find out soon enough in another crucial game that could well know who has the best chance to win this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.
For the Highlanders, the forwards & No.10 Mitch Hunt may have done well in picking up successful penalties.
Though, the finishing from their backline has to be No.1 priority that failed to match the Crusaders’ attacking DNA.
Well, they got their chance to sort things out when they face fellow strugglers, the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium in Wellington next Sunday.