Crusaders edge out Reds in tight match



Super rugby unlocked : SR standings | SR unlocked fixtures | TriNations : TriNations standings | TriNations fixtures |


The Crusaders showed their championship qualities to come from behind and beat a brave Reds side 27-21 on Saturday.

The Crusaders opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a Kade Poki try that appeared to set the scene for the easy away victory many were expecting.

However, tries from Reds captain James Horwill and Peter Hynes gave the Reds, who had lost Wallabies veteran Chris Latham to a shoulder injury early in the game, a 14-8 lead at the break.

When Quade Cooper brushed past Crusaders captain Richie McCaw and Leon MacDonald to score a converted try in the 51st minute, the Reds led 21-8 and the home crowd was sensing an incredible upset.

But the Crusaders scored the last three tries of the match in the final 15 minutes to snatch a win that guaranteed them top spot going into the semi-finals.

Star All-Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter made a triumphant return from injury, coming on after half-time to nail a tough conversion that snatched the lead in the 76th minute.

He then scored the match-winning try a minute later, diving over in the corner after snatching the rebound from an Ali Williams pass.

The Reds were left rueing two yellow cards late in the game, leaving them down to 13 men at one stage as they tried desperately to cling to the lead.

The home side were 21-8 up when Digby Ioane was sent off for a bad tackle in the 65th minute, and Ben Lucas joined him in the sin bin a few minutes later.

Kieran Read burrowed over for the Crusaders just after Ioane left the field to get his side back into the match and a Williams try set the scene for Carter’s crucial conversion that put his side up 22-21 in the 75th minute.

The Crusaders totally dominated possession and territory throughout, but outstanding defence from the Reds carried them to the brink of a huge upset.

When the final hooter sounded, the Reds were again pressing the Crusaders’ line in a last-ditch bid to snatch the win.

Crusaders captain McCaw said his side knew they would need to earn the win.

“The Reds are a gutsy team,” he said.

“We let the pressure off and they took fair advantage of it.

“The first half we were tossing the ball away, silly little things that let them off the hook. We didn’t panic and we wanted to get the little things right and we did that in the end.”

Reds captain Horwill lamented an opportunity lost, saying: “That was one of the most disappointing losses I have been involved in.

“We played so well and hung in so tight and little errors let us down and in the end we let it go.”

Sapa-AFP –

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.