The Crusaders recorded their fifth win in a row after defeating the Western Force 20-19 in the 78th minute, but what did we learn?
1. Lineout issues
The set piece is such a vital part of a successful Rugby side and the Force were having major issues with their lineout all night! Winning just four of their nine throws, Heath Tessmann was visibly angry with his forward pack as the continually messed up calls and lost possession.
2. More lineout issues
So bad that we need to say it again.. Did not click for the Force all night long with a mere 44% against 14/14 from the visitors. You can bet that Michael Foley will be working closely on the set piece during the bye week!
3. Hodgson fighting hard
At the age of 34 Matt Hodgson still manages to lead from the front for the Force. Hodgson was everywhere at the breakdown with a match-high 11 tackles and three turnovers won. He’s the heart and soul of the club and Michael Foley knows exactly what he can get out of his skipper week in and week out.
4. Grant on song with the boot
The experienced head of Peter Grant has continued to slot in nicely to flyhalf for the Western Force. Given the keys to lead the charge since Jono Lance injured his pectoral muscle three weeks ago, Grant was able to keep his side in the match despite lacking possession. Kicking at 100% with the boot, Grant nailed five goals to almost signal handedly lead the Force to victory.
5. Experience prevails
The Crusaders just know how to win. By no means was it their best performance and skipper Kieran Reid even publicly admitted his side was disappointed with their match, but his side just knew how to get it done! Making 14 handling errors to seven for the Force, they had numerous chances throughout the match to score, and while it wasn’t going their way they battled on until the final minute and eventually reaped the rewards.