Crusaders down Hurricanes




The Canterbury Crusaders shrugged off a midseason bye to beat the Wellington Hurricanes 20-11 on Saturday and retain their unbeaten record in rugby’s Super 14. Soft first half tries to hooker Corey Flynn and halfback Andy Ellis gave the Crusaders a 17-6 halftime lead, which the Hurricanes couldn’t bridge though they scored the only try of a hard-fought second spell.

Flynn scored when the Crusaders attacked first down the right flank, then on the left, moving the ball crossfield to create a one-on-one between the hooker and winger Lome Fa’atau.

Canterbury’s second try was both crucial and controversial. All Blacks winger Rico Gear kicked behind the tattered Hurricanes defense from broken play.

Wellington captain Rodney So’oialo covered the kick but found support only from lock Jason Eaton and Canterbury forced a turnover. Crusaders and All Blacks lock Chris Jack rampaged toward the line and, when stopped, passed infield to Ellis who scored from a pass that was clearly forward.

All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter kicked two penalties and two conversions – four goals from as many attempts – while Hurricanes goalkickers Jimmy Gopperth and David Holwell managed only two successes from six shots at goal.

“It was certainly the most intense game we’ve played all season but I think we expected that when we came up here and we’re just happy that we got the points,” said Crusaders captain Richie McCaw.

“I think there were mistakes from both teams when they got into scoring positions but there were also a lot of big hits out there and that probably contributed,” McCaw said.

McCaw was a key figure in the game, personally conceding as many as six penalties for deliberate infringements at rucks and mauls.

He was warned in the first half to address his team’s offending when he conceded three straight penalties but referee Paul Honniss took the matter no further.

Hurricanes and All Blacks lock Eaton was unquestionably the man of the match, winning a constant stream of lineout ball and outshining his senior All Blacks opposite Jack.

The Hurricanes let themselves down, however, with poor passing at crucial times and with senseless kicking which forfeited much of their minority share of possession.

Their try, to Fa’atau, was the best of the match but came too late to change its outcome.

Scores: Canterbury Crusaders 20 (Corey Flynn, Andy Ellis tries; Daniel Carter 2 conversions, 2 penalties), Wellington Hurricanes 11 (Lome Fa’atau try; Jimmy Gopperth 2 penalties). HT, 17-6.

Source : Sapa-AP /dg

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