Crusaders

Crusaders beat Bulls to host the Super 14 final

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The Crusaders were the favourites and given their past record having never lost a Semi final it would have taken a brave man to bet his money on the Bulls to win this match.


Even though the Bulls had a short week they started well and were still in it for most of the match. Many had expected the Bulls to be disgraced but their never say die attitude ensured that they were not disgraced.


The final result showed a 20 point gap but the score probably wasn’t a true reflection of the game. In the first half the Bulls kicked most of their ball away giving vital possession to the Crusaders. Morne Steyn simply could not find the touchline.


The Crusaders in the first half however scored two tries through Rico Gear. Both were not converted as Dan Carter’s boot struggled. He did however make amends somewhat with a drop goal.


When Bakkies Botha went off before half time many must have thought that it would be the end of the Bulls. Instead they won the next line-out and the forwards gave the ball to Habana at pace who blasted through to score some vital points for the Bulls before half time.


The Crusaders then got perfect start in the second half putting together 17 phases working the ball well. Eventually the Bulls ran out of defenders and Chris Jack went over for the first points of the 2nd half.


Carter finally got the conversion to take the score to 23-8.


The next 20 minutes had a very high attrition rate bringing numerous blood bins. Due to the Blood bins Carter spent a bit of time at No.9.


In the second half the Bulls have completely changed their game plan keeping the ball in hand. At the line-out they extensively used Rossouw suggesting that Matfield was a marked man.


With almost 15 minutes to go the Bulls were caught napping when Mauger took a quick line-out. He threw the ball to Corey Flynn who dived over for a try that sealed the match.


Knowing that the match was won McCaw came off. Mauger then made a 51 m break dodging the Bulls centre field defence. He was wide open and only Ndungane got to him but it was too late as his Momentum carried him over. Carter then got his second conversion taking his points for the tournament to over 200 this year.


The Bulls didn’t give up and when they finally did get quick ball Pierre Spies went over and Morne Steyn converted giving them a more respectable score line albeit 20 points in arrears.


The Crusaders may have won the match but they did take a bashing so they will need the week off to heal. The Hurricanes have an extra day to heal the bumps and bruises but it will be the Crusaders who have that crucial home advantage.

At the time of writing the final is scheduled for 7:35pm NZ time on Saturday.


Final Score – Crusaders 35 Bulls 15


Scorers


Crusaders
Tries – Gear 2, Jack, Flynn, Mauger- Conversions – Carter 2, Penalties Carter – Drop goals – Carter



Bulls
Tries, Habana, Spies- Conversions, Steyn- Penalties- Steyn

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