By David Di Somma
It wasn't pretty, but the Crusaders have gained some revenge over the Reds for last season's Super Rugby final defeat, with a scratchy 15-11 win against the Queenslanders in Christchurch this afternoon.
The visitors scored the only try of the match in the opening minute, with the Crusaders' Tom Taylor adding five penalties.
Right from the start the Reds pressured the Crusaders.
Within a minute, hooker James Hanson was over for the opening try.
Halfback Andy Ellis made his second mistake in as many minutes.
The defending champions were up for the challenge, and trying to break the Crusaders out wide.
The Crusaders aren't short of attacking weapons themselves, and they also went close.
The game was played at a frenetic pace, but accuracy wasn't always there.
Superiority at scrum time reaped reward, gifting Tom Taylor with his second penalty.
Star Reds flanker Scott Higginbotham got a stray finger in his eye, and was clearly distressed on the sidelines.
First-five Ben Lucas added to the casualty ward, the Crusaders up 6-5 at the break despite having only 38 percent possession.
A sell-out crowd, complete with Wallaby coach Rob Deans and soon to be ex-BlackCaps coach John Wright, were eagerly awaiting the second half.
It wasn't long till after, sporting luminary Richie McCaw was called into action.
With the wind at their backs, the Crusaders roared into top gear.
Only minutes after coming on, prop Wyatt Crockett was sin-binned for this tackle on the Reds halfback Will Genia.
From the ensuing penalty, the Reds took the lead, 11-9.
In a match that could have gone either way, two late penalties carried the Crusaders home 15-11.