Winger George Bridge yesterday returned from injury to score two tries within two minutes, lifting the Crusaders over the Lions 36-10 in Super Rugby.
Bridge scored 15 tries in competition last season, but has played only four matches this year because of a knee injury.
His form yesterday thrust him immediately into selection consideration for the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup squad.
Winger Sevu Reece also scored two tries and center Braydon Ennor added another in a match that left little doubt that the nine-time champions are the best team in Super Rugby.
“The Lions challenged us a few times tonight,” Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said. “They got down in the corner, put pressure on us at the scrum and got some momentum. That’s something we knew they were going to do, but stopping that is really hard.”
The Crusaders needed only five minutes to score the opening try. Reece ran off the right wing and made a slick break in midfield, shrugging off a tackle and passing to center Ennor, who had an unobstructed run to the line.
When the Lions enjoyed their first extended spell in Crusaders’ territory, they earned two penalties from scrums. When the defense would not yield, flyhalf Elton Jantjes kicked a penalty.
The Lions’ defense responded superbly later in the half, when the Crusaders held the ball through 22 phases without being able to force a breakthrough.
Both sides made innumerable handling errors that stopped either achieving continuity.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders blew away the Sunwolves 52-0 in Tokyo.
The Sunwolves have not won any of their six home games this season.
The game was effectively over after the first quarter, after which the Highlanders led 26-0.
The Sunwolves could not handle the Highlanders’ scrum, kicking game and pace. The Highlanders led 33-0 at halftime, finished with eight tries and two more were disallowed.
The only concern for the Highlanders was replacement flyhalf Bryn Gatland, who was injured late and had to be carried off. The Highlanders finished with 14 men and it was not a problem.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7