Crusaders get back in the grooveSat 02 Mar

Rugby Crusaders returned to action in some style with a 22-12 win at Derby on Saturday.

Crusaders shrugged off the handicap of a six-week lay-off and the draining effects of a sticky pitch to score three tries against strong opposition.

Front rower Jack Riley got the scoring underway from a 10-metre rolling maul and the try was converted by Steve Goode, who also added a penalty to put Crusaders 10-0 up.

Derby hit back with a try but back-rower Paul Davies - playing out of position on the wing due to an injury to Michael Rust - worked his way over for the Crusaders’ second score to restore the ten-point lead at half-time.

Playing uphill in the second half, Crusaders moved the ball well in the backs, changing the point of attack intelligently to open up space for left wing Simon Tunnicliffe who scored in the corner after receiving a well-directed pass from Frankie Wilson-Fenwick. Goode converted to make it 22-5.

Derby hit back with their second try but Crusaders kept their defensive shape in the final 15 minutes to hold on for a very satisfactory victory.

Coach Richard Gee commented: “It was a welcome relief to get a game after six weeks and all 15 lads got a good run out, especially as the ref forgot to start his watch at the start of the season half and we played an extra ten minutes!

“We could have won by more had we not butchered five try scoring chances in the first half.

“But I was impressed by the performance and the result against a Derby side that is well known throughout Midlands rugby as being a tough side to beat.”

A selection of images from the game can be found at:

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