x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sammut off to a roaring start for Crusaders

Jarrod Sammut turned in a magical debut for the Crusaders, marking his first appearance with a try in his side's shock 19-0 win over Bradford at Murrayfield.

Jarrod Sammut celebrates after scoring a try yesterday in his first appearance for Crusaders.
Jarrod Sammut celebrates after scoring a try yesterday in his first appearance for Crusaders.

Jarrod Sammut turned in a magical debut for the Crusaders, marking his first appearance with a try in his side's shock 19-0 win over Bradford at Murrayfield yesterday. Brian Noble, the Crusaders coach, was full of praise for the former Penrith Panthers player after his starring role in for the Wrexham side in the opening match of the Magic Weekend in Edinburgh

Sammut's first taste of Super League ended a six-month lay-off due to ankle surgery and came despite the effects of jet lag. "He got off the plane [from Australia via Bangkok] at 10 o'clock yesterday but it seems like he's been part of the team all season," said Noble. "He can play. He's got the X-factor." Michael Witt, the half-back, contributed the other 15 points with two tries, three conversions and a drop goal while Gareth Thomas, the former British & Irish Lions rugby union winger, caught the eye with a series of dangerous runs.

"He looked every part a rugby league player," said Noble of Thomas. "He's just five games into rugby league career, what a transition! Sometimes it takes 12 or 18 months but it shows his rugby acumen and reinforces the fact all our clubs should look at rugby union." Thomas, who is contracted to the end of the season, said: "It was a weird sensation because I was here a couple of months ago with the Cardiff Blues and I changed in the same place.

"It was a strange old feeling but I'm loving every minute of being part of this team and I'm loving every minute of playing this game. "It's testament to the boys how far come in the last couple of weeks that we kept a Bradford team that's performing pretty well to zero points. I think defensively, we've to tap ourselves on the back. Noble, the former Bulls coach, was especially delighted with the way his side bounced back from their 38-10 hammering by Huddersfield to gain a fifth win of the season. "I'm pleased we responded after last week when we had a lot of players not play to their potential," he said.

"Bradford have been in such good form, I knew we would have to be good to beat them and I thought we were very good." Steve McNamara, the Bulls coach who succeeded Noble in the Odsal hot seat, admitted his side had been outplayed as they were nilled for the first time for four years. "Everything went wrong," he said. "I thought Crusaders beat us in every department. It was a real non-performance from us. All across the park we were second best.

"We looked very down and low on energy. We did some very un-Bradford like things like not covering each other. The majority of the 17 players under-performed by quite a long way." Harlequins continued their revival with a convincing victory over injury-hit Hull as part of the Murrayfield weekend. Chad Randall, Will Sharp, Luke Dorn, Kevin Penny, the on-loan Warrington winger, and Luke Gale all touched down as Quins secured back-to-back victories following last week's stunning defeat of Wigan.

Warrington recorded the biggest win of the day, running in 12 tries to defeat Salford City Reds 68-16. * Agencies