Crusaders cement lead with gritty Hurricanes win



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The Crusaders cemented their big lead at the top of the Super 14 standings with a hard-fought 20-13 victory over New Zealand rivals the Wellington Hurricanes on Friday.

The Hurricanes won their last four matches but could not match the composure of Robbie Deans’ Crusaders — who came into the match with an eight-point lead in the competition — in a match packed with All Blacks on both sides.

But it wasn’t all good news for the Crusaders with All Black star fly-half Dan Carter going off with a leg injury midway through the second spell.

The Crusaders’ pack had the better of the scrums and breakdowns and their resolute defence combined with the Hurricanes’ occasional tactical and handling errors ensured the two-tries-to-one win.

“The first half went well, we got a little bit rattled there midway through the second half but I guess that’s the nature of the game,” Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw said.

“We managed to hang in there and get away with a win.”

The Crusaders showed they meant business from the start, turning over Hurricanes possession from the kick-off.

After just two minutes Crusaders’ hooker Corey Flynn pounced on a loose ball at the breakdown to touch down for a try converted by Carter.

Throughout the spell, the Hurricanes gave up vital turnovers and lacked the disciplined build-up of their opponents.

The Christchurch-based team struck again through a Carter penalty midway through the half and scored another try through former Auckland Blues lock Ali Williams after 33 minutes.

Attacking down the left flank, No. 8 Mose Tuiali’i cleverly grubber-kicked back infield, the ball bobbling away from defender Rodney So’oialo and into Williams’ arms for an easy try.

Both sides exchanged penalties early in the second spell but for most of the half the Hurricanes could not capitalise on a lion’s share of possession and territory.

That changed after the departure of Carter with a leg injury and the sinbinning of Tuiali’i in the 66th minute for persistent infringements at the breakdown.

The home team capitalised soon after when the pack drove over the tryline from a lineout, with hooker Andrew Hore claiming the try.

But another missed penalty attempt by Gopperth and a couple of dropped balls eased the pressure as the Crusaders hung on for victory.


Hurricanes 13 Crusaders 20





Tries – Andrew Hore

Pen – Jimmy Gopperth , Piri Weepu

Con – Jimmy Gopperth



Tries – Corey Flynn,Ali Williams

Pen – Dan Carter (2)

Con – Dan Carter (2)
Cards – Mose Tuiali’i (yellow) 


Friday March 28
Venue :
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees : Keith Brown (New Zealand), Josh Noonan (New Zealand)
TV Match Official : Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Reviewer/Perf. Auditor : Kim Eichmann (New Zealand)




15 Cory Jane, 14 Ma’a Nonu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Shannon Paku, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Neemia Tialata 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.

Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 22 Hosea Gear.


15. Leon MacDonald, 14. Scott Hamilton , 13. Casey Laulala ,12. Tim Bateman ,11. Kade Poki , 10. Daniel Carter , 9. Andrew Ellis , 8. Mose Tuiali’i , 7. Richard McCaw (captain), 6. Kieran Read , 5. Ali Williams , 4. Brad Thorn , 3. Greg Somerville , 2. Corey Flynn ,1. Ben Franks

Reserves:16. Ti’i Paulo , 17. Wyatt Crockett ,18. Michael Paterson ,19. Nasi Manu ,20. Kahn Fotuali’i , 21. Caleb Ralph , 22. Sean Maitland.


Sapa-AFP –

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