Crusaders

Crusaders seal a place in the Super 14 Semi-Finals

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The Crusaders handed the Sharks their third straight defeat beating them in Christchurch by 18 points to 10.

 

The Crusaders are now assured of a Semi final. Another won or bonus point would secure a home semi-final.

 

The victory saw the Sharks drop to fourth on the log as their points differential is lower than the Chiefs who are now third.


The Sharks only managed to score one try albeit a great one and the Crusaders scored two. Crusaders captain Richie McCaw was sent to the bin for 10 minutes just before half time but the Sharks only managed to score three points in the time he was off.


The win gave the first-placed Crusaders 47 points after 12 of 14 regular-season rounds, a temporary buffer of 11 points over the second-placed Waratahs who play the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

 

With 10 wins in 11 games, the Crusaders are likely safe in first place. In contrast, the Sharks, who shared the Crusaders’ unbeaten record through nine rounds, are in danger of missing the playoffs after their third straight loss.

The Durban-based team has matches remaining against the Cheetahs and Chiefs and may have to win both to remain among the top four.


Friday’s match was their fifth on a road trip which has brought only two wins and has seen them gradually drop away from the top of the table.


Props Greg Somerville and Wyatt Crockett scored in similar circumstances to give the Crusaders a two tries to one victory.


Crockett’s 74th-minute try provided the only points of the second half after Canterbury led 13-10 at halftime.


Somerville scored in the 17th minute, pouncing on the ball in a goalline melee after Canterbury scrumhalf Andy Ellis had failed in his initial attempt to force the ball over the line.


Crockett also deprived Ellis of a try, grubber kicking over the goalline and beating the scrumhalf and then the Sharks defense to the loose ball.


The Crusaders had narrow advantages of territory and possession in the first half but the Sharks reversed those percentages in the second half. By fulltime, territory and possession was almost evenly shared.


The difference between the teams was the Crusaders’ defense, which kept the Sharks scoreless in the second half.


“The defensive effort was great,” said Crusaders captain Richie McCaw.


The All Blacks captain spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin at the end of the first half and start of the second for a professional foul in defense.


“Some big hits went in tonight which caused turnovers and that was where the game was won and lost,” McCaw added.


The Sharks again showed an inability to score points from a reasonable share of possession.


Their rising star, No. 8 Ryan Kankowski, scored their only try in the 27th minute, detaching from a scrum and fending off three tacklers, including McCaw, on a 25-meter run to the line.


“Especially in the second half we had a lot of ball but we couldn’t turn it into points,” captain Johann Muller said.


 

Final Score Crusaders 18 Sharks 10

 

Scorers

 

Crusaders

Tries – Greg Somerville, Wyatt Crockett

Pen – Stephen Brett (2)

Con -Stephen Brett
Cards – Richie McCaw 38 (yellow)

 

Sharks

Tries – Ryan Kankowski

Pen – Rory Kockott

Con – Rory Kockott

 

Friday May 2
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Touch judges: Brett Bowden (Australia), Josh Noonan (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kane McBride (New Zealand)  

Teams


Crusaders:


Leon MacDonald, Kade Poki, Casey Laulala, Tim Bateman, Sean Maitland, Stephen Brett, Andrew Ellis, Nasi Manu, Richard McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks.
Reserves: Ti’i Paulo, Wyatt Crockett, Ross Filipo, George Whitelock, Kahn Fotuali’i, Hamish Gard, Caleb Ralph.

Sharks :


15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Waylon Murray , 12. Francois Steyn, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Ruan Pienaar, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. AJ Venter ,6. Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller (capt) , 4. Albert van den Burg , 3. BJ Botha, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Beast Mtawarira


Replacements: : 16. Skipper Badenhorst, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Jean Deysel , 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Andries Strauss,21. Henno Mentz , 22. Adrian Jacobs.

 

Super14.com

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