The Crusader forwards where quite simply awesome in this game. I haven't seen the rolling maul effectively used in a game for 2-3 years, but on Friday night at Jade Stadium we saw that from the red 'n'black juggernaut more than a few times.
Greg Somerville is starting to dominate games, something we haven't seen from a New Zealand prop in a number of years. Its something we haven't seen from the Otago boys in a longtime. It looks like he learnt alot from his experiences in France at the end of last year, and is now up to speed with some tricks of the trade. His mobility around the park is impressive. He's very much in the Steve McDowell mold with some of his bullocking runs.
Even without Reuben Thorne the Canterbury machine didn't miss a beat. This is of course a strength of the squad for the past 4 years. To adjust to any situation, and just get out there and do the hard yards. Chris Jack again look impressive. Brad Thorn did some good things again as well. It must have been a little strange for him playing the Queenslanders after all his games for the Brisbane Broncos & Queensland State of Origin teams. He is a kiwi at heart though so I'm sure he also got immense satisfaction out of it. Makes you wonder what he was thinking when the Kangaroos played the Kiwis...obviously he's a professional sportsman, but those deep rooted ambitions to play for the AB's one day must have crossed his mind more than a few times as the Kangaroos spanked the Kiwis yet again in a league test! The Canterbury scrum by the end of the game had the Queensland eight back peddling on most occasions, which was a surprise with Wallaby Glen Panaho in their front row.
It certainly was great to see Mehrts back on the paddock, and wasn't the big crowd happy! He's coming back at a good time for the Crusaders. Damage control with all the injuries has been supurb, being the top placed NZ team after 4 games played by all of them. This should change after the Highlanders play the Bulls however!!! Well at least you'd HOPE that will change! Mehrts didn't touch the ball much. but in the short time he was on the field the "little general" controlled things brilliantly. He is so much better than any other five eight in this country it is almost scary thinking of an AB season without him at the moment.
The other backline player to standout was definitely So'alo! Everybody is Canty is soooo pleased to see him back to his best and smiling again after all his injuries and complete loss of confidence. His speed is electrifying!!! And its also great not seeing Vuninbaka on the field!!! Sure, Afato might get run over the top of a couple of times 'cos his just a wee fella, but HELL, at least he gives it a go and looks like he's got some sort of brain activity up top!
For the Reds things could've been different if they'd held onto the ball. But stiff sh*t! At times basic mistakes (especially by wonder boy Latham!) let them down. The Kefu boys where a constant danger though, Herbert looked strong on a couple of bursts, and Nathan Spooner...thats SPOONER...S.P.O.O.N.E.R... (tee hee hee!) had a good night with the boot...unlike Benny Blair!!!
A tired looked Toddy after the game pretty much showed the commitment the Cantabs put into winning this one. They are looking well placed to challenge for the top 4 now...but in this comp nothing is guaranteed!