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Crusaders v Highlanders - Live
Full Time: CRUSADERS 24-8 HIGHLANDERS
80 The clock goes red as Ellis feeds the scrum, Fruean on the charge. Into touch from Bleyendaal and that's the ball game. A frustrating night for both sides but the Crusaders worthy of their win. The Highlanders however now have zero wins from eight matches - the latest loss in a bleak season. Thanks for joining us.
78 Crusaders passing the ball around deep in their own 22 and they pay the price, a knock on giving the Highlanders possession, wide to Emery who is thumped. Knocked on, Crusaders scrum.
75 TRY, CRUSADERS, TAYLOR! 26-8: After persistent pressure from the Crusaders front row, passes from Franks and Dagg hand Taylor just enough space to squeeze over in the left corner. Upstairs to the TMO who gives it, Bleyendaal misses the conversion.
72 A second penalty and the Crusaders continue to opt for the scrum. Picked up by Luke Whitelock, inches short of the line.
70 Multiple reset scrums and the Crusaders have the penalty. Scrum again...
67 Hore off for the Highlanders ahead of the scrum. Crusaders win the penalty and go into the corner. Not straight through from Flynn, caught by the wind and the Highlanders take the scrum.
65 Ellis dinks a kick over the top for Marshall, putting Aaron Smith under pressure. Crusaders scrum for a knock-on at the kickoff, wide on the right in the Highlanders 22.
64 PENALTY, HIGHLANDERS, SLADE! 19-8: Nicely over from Slade and the gap is cut to 11 points.
63 Rain starting to come down in Christchurch as the Highlanders survive that Crusaders attack. Visitors now with a lineout in the opposition half - Colin Slade on for Parker at fly-half.
61 Another surge from the home pack, touching distance from the try line. Highlanders holding for now, too many bodies and the referee is checking upstairs just to make sure.
59 Crusaders with the pick and go once more, inches short of the Highlanders line. This would surely seal it... Ellis botches his pass though and the Crusaders have a penalty, Hore in at the side.
57 Crockett with the grubber down the left touchline. Yes, Crockett. Gear forced into touch and the Crusaders will have the lineout in the Highlanders 22. Ben Smith with some great defensive work there.
55 Highlanders lineout outside the Crusaders 22 - catch and drive from the front. Ellis breaking away for the Crusaders but he's caught short of the line. Ball lost and Smith and Ensor counter for the Highlanders, pressure relieved.
53 PENALTY, CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! 19-5: No problem for the young pivot who stretches the lead.
52 Better from the Crusaders as Dagg drives up to the five metre line - advantage, Hoeata penalised and Bleyendaal will go for goal.
50 Dagg tries to release Marshall but the ball is knocked down. Slight knock on, Highlanders scrum.
48 Crusaders up to halfway, penalty against the Highlanders and Bleyendaal will look for touch. Lineout just outside the Highlanders 22.
46 Much better from the Highlanders with the breeze behind them, lineout in the Crusaders half. Ball though is not straight, scrum Crusaders.
43 TRY, HIGHLANDERS EMERY! 16-5 All the Highlanders so far, bright start with Ben Smith nearly getting over. Back for a penalty against the Crusaders for offside. Ioane goes quickly, wide to Nonu who comes up short. Wide ball to Emery! The visitors are back in it! Parker hits the post.
40 Parker starts off the second half for the Highlanders, who have a mountain to climb.
Half Time: CRUSADERS 16-0 HIGHLANDERS
40 That's the interval - Crusaders made to work for their lead but it's a big lead they have, 16-0 at the break. The Highlanders really struggling at the lineout and have barely been out of their own half. Their winless streak looks set to continue.
38 TRY, CRUSADERS, FRUEAN! 16-0: Crusaders scrum - Ellis crunched in midfield. Driving over, are they over? Pass comes left to Fruean who... gets it down! Great effort by Hore but that's the first try. Crusaders comfortably leading. Bleyendaal converts.
36 Flynn's lineout is not straight, scrum to the Highlanders. Ball turned over and Guildford in space down the left can't hang on as the ball goes into touch. Crusaders win the lineout and are driving once more.
34 Crusaders defence holding firm - Highlanders very flat-footed and they are pinged at the breakdown, Ioane the culprit for not releasing.
32 Tom Marshall penalised for not rolling away as the Highlanders kick into touch in the Crusaders half. The hosts clear so the Highlanders start again from their own half.
30 PENALTY, CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! 9-0: Tough breeze and Bleyendaal judges his second kick in three minutes perfectly, gap now stretched to nine. Bekhuis the man penalised.
28 PENALTY, CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! 6-0: Right in front of the posts and Bleyendaal chips it over.
27 Ball grounded short of the line, we go back for the penalty at the scrum for the Crusaders. Bleyendaal going for goal.
26 Wide pass left to Guildford from the scrum who looks to be over in the corner. TMO checking try or no try...
24 Taken by Sam Whitelock as the Crusaders maul their way forwards in the Highlanders 22. Carries from Romano, Todd, both Whitelocks but the ball is unplayable, scrum to the Crusaders under the posts.
23 Highlanders on the attack and an initial run from Ben Smith. Awkward bounce on the kick through to Guildford but the Crusaders clear. Another kick fielded by Guildford who looks to struggle, before feeding Dagg who kicks the corner.
21 Kicking into the wind, Parker's kick falls wide to the right so the Crusaders stay in front. Franks back on the field so the Crusaders are back to 15 men.
20 Penalty reversed, Crockett the man in trouble as Parker goes for goal from inside the Crusaders 22.
19 Highlanders on the attack through Nonu, spinning out of tackles but then losing possession. Penalty to the Crusaders and it is on! Fists flying as play is stopped - perpetrators appear to be... well take your pick. TMO on the case.
17 Highlanders scrum takes a punishing drive from the seven-man Crusaders, who force the knock-on. That's impressive strength and Brad Thorn is fuming. Aaron Smith pressures Ellis and the Highlanders finally reach the Crusaders 22.
15 PENALTY, CRUSADERS, BLEYENDAAL! 3-0: Over on the second attempt for Bleyendaal as the Crusaders finally capitalise on their possession - 95% territory so far.
13 YELLOW CARD, CRUSADERS, FRANKS! Incident spotted with Owen Franks punching Jarrad Hoeata off the ball - off to the bin he goes.
11 Wide attack from the Crusaders inside the Highlanders half, Guildford trying to jink his way through. Sam Whitelock carries the hosts into the 22. Bleyendaal slices through a gap, wide to Dagg who shrugs off some tackles. Lost forward though by Crockett, scrum to the Highlanders. Touch judges both have flags out...
9 Highlanders penalised for coming in at the side at the ruck and Bleyendaal will have a shot at goal. The wind takes it away and it stays 0-0 as Ellis comes back on.
7 Loose ball at the lineout and the Highlanders escape again, a lineout this time only 10 metres out as Parker squeezes the ball away. Lineout taken by Romano, all the territory early on for the hosts.
6 The Highlanders survive - wide pass from the scrum is intercepted by Ensor. Clearance kick however is charged down, 5 metre lineout to the Crusaders. Willi Heinz on for Andy Ellis temporarily.
4 Still all the Crusaders short of the Highlanders line, Flynn with a burst. He looks close but can't get the ball back and the Crusaders will have another scrum.
2 Crusaders picking and going around 10 metres out - forward pack getting through some early work. Scrum to the Crusaders seven metres out.
We're underway at the AMI Stadium - Crusaders with the early possession deep in the Highlanders 22.
Team News: For the Highlanders there is no Kade Poki or Buxton Popuali'i so Tony Ensor gets a run on the wing while Jason Emery faces a defensive test up against Robbie Fruean. It doesn't get any easier as number eight Mose Tuiali'i has sustained a knee injury, ruling him out.
Team News: Crusaders openside Matt Todd returns to solidify the back-row while Sam Whitelock is also back, alongside Zac Guildford, who is in for Adam Whitelock.
Welcome: Hello and welcome to the AMI Stadium in Christchurch as the Highlanders continue to search for their first win of the season against the Crusaders.
Updates to appear here at 19:20 local (08:20 BST, 07:20 GMT)
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|Friday 19th September|
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|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
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|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
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|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
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So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.
The Crusaders will take on the Waratahs in the Super Rugby final after both sides registered eye-catching semi-final victories on Saturday.
Crusaders v Sharks: 8.25am, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com