24 Feb 2012

Crusaders pip Blues by a point in nailbiting Super Rugby opener

11:05 pm on 24 February 2012

The Crusaders have opened the Super Rugby season with a nailbiting 19-18 win over the Blues in Auckland.

The Blues scored two tries to the Crusaders' one, all in the first half at Eden Park.

The Crusaders led 16-12 at half-time and kicked one penalty to the Blues' two after the break.

The difference ended up being the visitors' rookie first five eighth Tyler Blyendaal, who kicked four out of six penalties, while former Hurricane Piri Weepu had a drop-kick narrowly charged down with the Blues hard on attack in the 82nd minute.

Blues coach Pat Lam was convinced afterwards the Crusaders defence was offside, lamenting that no-call from referee Chris Pollock, who did ping the hosts for an earlier offside penalty for one of the red and whites' three-pointers.

Weepu came on as a second-half replacement, shifting Blues playmaker Michael Hobbs out to second five.

Hobbs kicked both the Blues' penalties and converted one of their tries, which were scored by flanker Chris Lowrey and wing David Raikuna on debut, while Robbie Fruean dotted down for the Crusaders' lone try.