Crusaders too strong for Sunwolves in Brisbane
BRISBANE - Defending champions Crusaders, reduced to 13 men in the last 15 minutes, stuttered to a 49-14 win over Japan's Sunwolves in Brisbane. The match was transferred from Tokyo as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
A scratch Crusaders lineup lacked the cohesion at first to break down a stubborn Sunwolves defense. Fullback George Bridge brought a touch of class, providing the last pass in tries to Sevu Reece and Tom Christie that gave the Christchurch-based Crusaders a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Crusaders started the second half with a try but the Sunwolves replied with a fine solo try to flyhalf Garth April to keep the game close at 21-14 after 55 minutes.
Reece's second and a try to Sione Havili gave the Crusaders a 35-14 lead before they were reduced to 14 men when replacement Hugh Roach was shown a red card for elbowing. They were down to 13 men when Reece received a yellow card but still managed tries to Braydon Ennor and Fergus Burke.
Meanwhile, Saturday's match between the Jaguares and Highlanders in Buenos Aires will be played without spectators after the mayor of Buenos Aires banned mass gatherings. Fans will be allowed to attend all other matches in this round but from next weekend's eighth round and until further notice matches in Australia will be played in closed stadiums.
Later Saturday, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced all travelers arriving in New Zealand from midnight Sunday will have to self-isolate for 14 days, making most Super Rugby matches apart from New Zealand derbies impractical.
The Dunedin-based Highlanders, who are in Argentina, face quarantine if they can't return home by the deadline.