Crusaders beat Hurricanes in epic semifinal

Sevu Reece of the Crusaders celebrates with Richie Mo’unga and David Havili after scoring while...
Sevu Reece of the Crusaders celebrates with Richie Mo’unga and David Havili after scoring while Beauden Barrett looks on during the Super Rugby semifinal in Christchurch tonight. Photo: Getty Images
The Super Rugby final is coming back to Christchurch.

The Crusaders will host the Jaguares next weekend looking for the final result to seal their trifecta, after ending the Hurricanes season with a 30-26 win on Saturday.

In a clash between the two sides with the most points on the table this season, the Crusaders showed just how hard they can be to beat on their home turf.

A lack of discipline ultimately cost the Hurricanes, who conceded more than twice as many penalties than the Crusaders; two of which resulted in points from the boot of Richie Mo'unga.

The hosts broke out to a fast start, going up by three points in as many minutes, before a brilliant cross kick from Mo'unga found winger Sevu Reece in the corner for the opening try of the match in the 13th minute.

The Hurricanes did well to stem the flow of the Crusaders points despite having very little of the ball early on. It wasn't until the 34th minute that the visitors found some room to move when Jordie Barrett went flying down the sideline on the counter attack.

Ultimately deciding not to pass to either of the players flanking him in support, Barrett's run did put the Hurricanes in position to get on the board which they did through Ngani Laumape who stood up Reece to get over the try line.

The Crusaders outrun Hurricanes by 100m in the first half, with the Hurricanes making far more tackles. However, the Crusaders kept the door open – with 12 turnovers conceded in the first half.

TJ Perenara appeals to the referee after an incorrect late call handed the Crusaders possession....
TJ Perenara appeals to the referee after an incorrect late call handed the Crusaders possession. Photo: Getty Images
It was a different story in the second half as the game opened up and both sides played fluid, attacking football.

Ben Lam put the Hurricanes within one point just minutes into the second half, before Mo'unga answered right back.

Laumape and Reece then traded tries, before TJ Perenara stretched out late in the piece to give the Hurricanes a great chance to steal the win.

However, a late penalty gave the Crusaders the chance to push their slim lead out to four points, and the Hurricanes were unable to find another try to take out the win.

With two minutes on the clock, the Hurricanes were in position to launch an attack, but a knock on called against Perenara put an end to their hopes. What made matters worse for Hurricanes fans was that it appeared Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock had reached over the breakdown and swiped the ball from Perenara's grasp.
The Crusaders will now await the arrival of the Jaguares, who will run out in their first ever Super Rugby final after demolishing the Brumbies in Argentina.

Result aside, both Reece and Laumape continued their terrific seasons and put their hands up for a spot in the All Blacks World Cup squad later this year. Laumape continued to show he's the country's form midfielder, and while Reece's deficiencies on the defensive end were exploited by the Hurricanes, what he offers in attack could well land him a black jersey later this year.

Crusaders 30 (Sevu Reece 2, Richie Mo'unga tries; Richie Mo'unga 3 cons, 3 pens)

Hurricanes 26 (Ngani Laumape 2, Ben Lam, TJ Perenara tries; Beauden Barrett 3 cons)

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