The New Zealand Canterbury Crusaders began their Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa protection on Friday with a 26-13 win over South Island rivals the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin.

The Crusaders scored 4 to 2 tries and ended up robust in a bodily conflict that kicked off the season at a breakneck tempo.

“We knew the Highlanders would take us ahead and we needed to attain, if not beat, that to win,” stated captain Scott Barrett.

“I feel we did nicely on this space.”

The Crusaders received the New Zealand competitors at a gallop final 12 months – including to the ten tremendous rugby titles already of their trophy cupboard – and are funds favorites to repeat the feat this 12 months.

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Highlanders co-captain Aaron Smith stated the hole between the 2 groups is small, however the Crusaders have a bonus in vital areas.

“Our abilities positively allow us to down, dismissing them at key moments once they simply pounced,” he stated.

“It was a 60-minute ding-dong battle there, however their set items are too robust and we simply did not take our probabilities.”

The match began at a quick tempo due to the gang, and the lit crusaders acquired two penalties within the first two minutes.

Relentless strain from the defending champions resulted in two fast makes an attempt, the primary after a line break by whore Codie Taylor within the thirteenth minute.

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Bryn Corridor scored the second when he clung to a ball neatly kicked into midfield by Sevu Reece on the wing.

The crusaders had been then decreased to 14 males when Ethan Blackadder was sentenced to sin after repeatedly violating the offside laws.

The benefit paid off when the gang of Highlanders lastly started to click on and Flanker cornered Shannon Frizell.

They stored their momentum with one other five-pointer as Connor Backyard-Bachop raced down the wing and decreased the deficit to 14-10 at halftime.

A Highlanders penalty instantly after the restart tipped it 14-13 earlier than winger Sevu Reece added a sensational end to the Crusaders lead amid strain from prop Siate Tokolah.

As Tokolah bundled him throughout the road, Reece reached out with one hand to floor the ball, stopping his foot from being touched on the identical time.

A pushover try in opposition to Brodie McAlister within the 72nd minute sealed the victory for the Crusaders.

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