Home Australia Reds end 25-year drought in Christchurch with stoic defense saving them from Crusaders’ latest charge

Reds end 25-year drought in Christchurch with stoic defense saving them from Crusaders’ latest charge

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Reds end 25-year drought in Christchurch with stoic defense saving them from Crusaders' latest charge

Fraser McReight led the Queensland Reds’ attack in Christchurch to break his team’s 25-game losing streak against the Crusaders in New Zealand.

The Reds beat the Crusaders 33-28 on Saturday, playing stoic defense in the final minutes after building a 12-point lead with six minutes left to avoid what looked like another near miss.

It was the Reds’ first win in the city since Tim Horan, Ben Tune, Toutai Kefu, Daniel Herbert and Nathan Sharpe wore the shirt in 1999, and just the Crusaders’ second defeat to an Australian team in Christchurch since 2004.

The visitors played some brilliant rugby to add to their Highlanders and Chiefs wins, with Tim Ryan’s brace making it five tries in two Super Rugby Pacific starts for the 20-year-old, and the No.10’s superb kicking game Lawson Creighton.

Returning from a two-game suspension, flanker McReight showed his class at the break, while fellow backs Liam Wright and Harry Wilson gained ground.

The victory made it three wins against New Zealand teams this year for the Reds, with their only trans-Tasman losses coming after siren attempts against the Hurricanes and Blues.

The five-to-four victory improved them to 5-5 and put them on the verge of the top four.

The Crusaders, who have shown huge improvement from an 0-5 start, fell to 2-8 and lost captain and All Blacks star Scott Barrett to an apparent back injury after just 14 minutes.

After eight penalties in the first 16 minutes, it was the Reds who opened the scoring through McReight, with a clear counter-attack from fullback Jock Campbell setting the stage.

Four early kicks behind the Crusaders defense were of no use at first but eventually created the space for Josh Flook to break down the left wing.

Campbell was involved again when winger Ryan finished an 80 meter stage.

Dallas McLeod got the hosts on the board in the 38th minute, but the Reds regained control when prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen scored after a lineout loss to start the second half.

The Crusaders scored the next two, Quinten Strange’s attempt to level the scores was controversially confirmed when replays failed to conclusively say the ball had been retained.

Then Harry Wilson did it himself, charging in with a kick-off and recovering to score a try that prevented the comeback.

Ryan got another when he accelerated toward Campbell’s chip kick, and when Ryan Smith forced a turnover with a one-on-one defensive play shortly after the Reds looked home.

But Ryan gave up an offensive lineball penalty with the Reds in prime position and Sevu Reece ran in for his 100th first-class try.

The Crusaders once again burned the left edge in search of the lead, but were stopped, and the Reds were able to withstand one last push to rewrite the record books.


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