Crusaders

Crusaders go 11 points clear of Sharks

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The Crusaders got back to winning ways in Round eleven when they beat the Blues by 26 points to 22 in Christchurch on Friday night.


The Crusaders scored four tries earning them the bonus point. The home team’s hooker Corey Flynn (pictured) had a mixed night as he scored two tries and in the second half he picked up a yellow card for an illegal tackle.


A late try by the Blues David Smith in the corner earned the Blues a losing bonus and made the last few minutes of match a very tense as the score brought the Blues to within four points of the Crusaders.

 

The Blues certainly tried to score but failed to get a match winning try.


Flynn’s first try, in the 25th minute, gave the Crusaders a 12-7 lead at halftime. His second in the fifth minute of the second half retrieved the lead after the Blues had edged ahead 14-12.


The tries highlighted a mixed game for the former All Blacks hooker who also missed the tackle which led to the first of the Blues three tries and committed two clumsy fouls which led to him being sin-binned in the 62nd minute.


The Crusaders was desperate to fight back from last week’s loss to the Chiefs – their first defeat in nine matches – while the Blues needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.


The Crusaders claimed their seventh four-try bonus point of the season because of its greater efficiency in a few critical situations.


“The opportunities we got we finished and that’s the key to games like this, especially against the Auckland Blues,” Crusaders captain Richie McCaw said.


“We came unstuck last week but we got back on the horse tonight, so to speak, and we’ve got another difficult match (against the Sharks) next week so it doesn’t get any easier.”


The Blues slipped from first to seventh place on the table after a long spell of mediocre form, produced their best performance in several weeks to stretch the Crusaders.


The Blues came back from a 12-0 deficit after 25 minutes to lead 14-12 and, after letting the Crusaders get away to a 26-17 lead in the second spell and fought back again to go down by a bonus point margin.


But several crucial but correct calls went against them and they failed narrowly on a couple of occasions to snatch try-scoring chances, notably when captain Troy Flavell was driven into touch while grounding the ball over the line in the 67th minute.


“Once again the last pass didn’t stick,” Flavell said.


“But I’ve just been talking to the guys and I’ve told them to keep their chins up and stay positive.


“If we play like that again in the next three rounds, we’ll knock a few teams off.”


Final score Crusaders 26 Blues 22

 

Scorers

 

Crusaders

Tries – Richie McCaw, Corey Flynn (2),Tii Paulo
Pen –
Con – Stephen Brett (3)
Cards – Corey Flynn (yellow)

 

Blues

Tries –  Rudi Wulf ,Nick Williams, David Smith
Pen – Nick Evans
Con – Nick Evans (2)

 

Teams


Crusaders:


Leon MacDonald, Kade Poki, Caleb Ralph, Tim Bateman, Sean Maitland, Stephen Brett, Andrew Ellis, Mose Tuialii, Richard McCaw, Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks


Reserves: Tii Paulo, Wyatt Crockett, Ross Filipo, Nasi Manu, Kahn Fotualii, Hamish Gard, Scott Hamilton.


Blues:


1 Tony Woodcock , 2 Keven Mealamu , 3 John Afoa , 4 Anthony Boric , 5 Troy Flavell ‘ , 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Daniel Braid , 8 Nick Williams , 9 Taniela Moa , 10 Nick Evans , 11 Rudi Wulf , 12 Benson Stanley , 13 Anthony Tuitavake , 14 David Smith, 15 Isa Nacewa


Reserves: 16. Nick White, 17. Bronson Murray , 18. Kurtis Haiu , 19. Justin Collins , 20. Danny Lee , 21. Isaia Toeava , 22. Ben Atiga.

 

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