The Crusaders came from behind to defeat the Melbourne Rebels 19-14 in a tightly contested pre-season friendly in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Rebels were able to showcase one of their new star signings, James O'Connor, who was up to his usual tricks - slicing through the Crusaders defence to score a brilliant individual try.
However, the Crusaders have their own wizard in the backline, with Israel Dagg adding a few touches of magic himself to cross the line for a pair of well executed tries.
It briefly looked as if an upset might be on the cards when the rebels went into the half-time break with a 14-7 lead, but the 'Saders were too strong in the second half leaving the home side scoreless.
Both sides will take a number of positives from the highly entertaining match that was sadly missing the likes of injured trio of Rebels ace Kurtley Beale and Crusaders stars Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.
However, the Crusaders will be pleased with the continued development of former New Zealand Under-20 flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal.
Tries: Delve, O'Connor
Cons: O'Connor 2
Tries: Dagg 2, A. Whitelock
Cons: Bleyendaal 2
Rebels: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Adam Byrnes, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Rodney Blake.
Replacements (from): Luke Holmes, Nic Henderson, Alister Campbell, Tim Davidson, Richard Kingi, Nic Stirzaker, Heath Tessmann, James Hilgendorf, Eddie Aholelei, Lloyd Johansson, Luke Beauchamp, James King, Isaiah Mosese.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacments (from): Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett, Luke Romano, Ross Kennedy, Willie Heinz, James Schrader, Patrick Osborne, Mitch Scott, Joe Wheeler, Brendon O'Connor, Luke Whitelock.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Oliver Kellett (Australia)
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