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After dominating the opening 40 minutes, the Brumbies looked poised to push the Crusaders to the final whistle. Instead, the Crusaders ran away with a 36-14 win.
With all the possession and territory they could have asked for in the first half, the Brumbies could only put seven points on the board leading into the halftime break. It was far from enough, as the running game of the Crusaders backline shone through.
Without a win in New Zealand since beating the Hurricanes in 2014, the Brumbies arrived in Christchurch with many pundits expecting a blowout to the hosts. But a physical start coupled with the Crusaders' poor discipline set the platform for the Brumbies to lay down their challenge.
Thanks to eight first-half penalties, including a shoulder charge that saw Owen Franks shown a yellow card, the Brumbies dominated possession and territory in the first half. Their aggression was shown early as penalties well within kicking range were being passed up for a chance to get closer to the tryline.
It took 33 minutes, but the Brumbies were eventually rewarded for their dominance through first five-eighth Christian Lealiifano, whose converted try saw the Brumbies go into the break with a seven-point buffer.
As positive as the Brumbies might have been after the first half, winger Sevu Reece made sure that feeling didn't last long into the second half as he crossed the stripe four minutes after the restart. Giving up the lead they had worked so hard for, the Brumbies began to crack, and the Crusaders exploited the holes.
Reece and Richie Mo'unga had plenty of opportunities to dazzle with their running games as the hosts tired their visitors.
As the Crusaders did in the first half, the Brumbies found themselves a man down in the second when Toni Pulu collared Will Jordan on his way to the tryline.
With Jordan's eventual try, the floodgates opened.
- Christopher Reive