Hunt nails massive drop kick to help Crusaders defeat Highlanders 25-22

Ross Houston
June 3, 2017

Hunt landed a remarkable 45m pot almost 3min after the fulltime hooter sounded in Christchurch to carry the competition leaders to a 25-22 win.

New Zealand sides, led by the Crusaders, have already wrapped up the Australasian wildcards for the playoffs, while the Waratahs only hope of making the final eight is to win the Australian conference led by the ACT Brumbies, who they trail by nine points with a game less to play.

The Highlanders, with their nine-match winning streak coming to an end, now nearly certainly face a lengthy journey to South Africa when the post-season arrives. They then won the first two games of the 2003 season.

Victory over the Hurricanes in their next match, in Wellington in six weeks' time, would also ensure they finish ahead of South Africa's Lions as top qualifiers for the play-offs.

Crusaders' ideal record looked like coming to an end at unlucky 13 when they trailed 22-19 with three minutes to go at AMI Stadium on Saturday. The second, via an intercept and 75m run, meant All Blacks flyer Naholo has bagged a double in four successive games against the Crusaders.

A penalty with four minutes to go levelled the scores, and Hunt had a chance to win it in the 80th minute, but pushed a tough penalty wide of the uprights.

The Crusaders were at their free flowing best in their 25-22 victory over the Highlanders in Christchurch, with winger Seta Tamanivalu grabbing this try to cement his side's advantage.

The Highlanders struck back through a converted try to winger Richard Buckman and a penalty to first five-eighth Marty Banks. Bedwell-Curtis made amends when he scampered over for his team's third try on the stroke of halftime.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, however, was left counting the cost of a bruising Christchurch encounter when Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty suffered a rib injury that looks like keeping him out of the British and Irish Lions series.

Hansen, who names his All Blacks squad on Thursday, will also have been concerned that Highlanders fullback Ben Smith did not return to the pitch after a concussion check.

Other reports by iNewsToday