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Crusaders snatch last-gasp draw against Sharks

Joe Moody of the Crusaders is tackled by Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt of the Sharks during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Sharks at Christchurch Stadium

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 03: Joe Moody of the Crusaders is tackled by Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt of the Sharks during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Sharks at Christchurch Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Crusaders and Sharks played out a 21-21 draw, their first in Super Rugby, in a tight, tense affair at AMI Stadium, Christchurch.

Mitchell Hunt scored a last-gasp try after the hooter and then kicked the pressure conversion to tie the match for the home team.

Curwin Bosch kicked seven penalties, one with less than five minutes to play, to give his side a seven-point cushion and keep his side in second place on the Super Rugby log.

The Sharks will be bitterly disappointed with the final result because they had the better of the contest.

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Their defence was immense and their set-pieces dominated for long periods, but they did concede three scores.

Codie Taylor, Jack Goodhue and Hunt all crossed for the Crusaders.

The lead changed hands a couple of times in the first half, but the tourists kept the scoreboard ticking thanks to Bosch.

The 21-year-old, starting at flyhalf, did miss two kicks, but they did not cost his team.

Robert du Preez’s charges can be proud of their performance.

Super Rugby Video Highlights: Crusaders versus Sharks, Round 12, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Christchurch is not a happy hunting ground for any team, the Durban franchise had only ever won once against the nine-time Super Rugby champions, back in 2014.

The draw, at least, stops the rot of five consecutive losses to the defending champs.

Scott Robertson’s side did not help themselves. They were careless with the ball, struggling to negotiate the heavy dew.

The Sharks faired better, controlling possession, which put them in a position to punish the ill-disciplined Kiwis.

Scrappy first half littered with errors

The Sharks took a slender lead into the shed after three penalties negated Codie Taylor’s try.

Bosch kicked an early penalty (having missed one a minute before when he hit the post), but Taylor’s third Super Rugby try of the season put the defending champions in front on 12 minutes.

The Sharks enjoyed the better of territory (61%) and possession (65%) in the opening half hour, and dominated the set-pieces, winning multiple penalties and free kicks.

Another Bosch penalty reduced the deficit to one.

Both teams struggled with the slippery ball because of heavy dew. The new-look Crusaders, who were resting most of their regular starting line-up, struggled.

Passing was also poor, gifting the visitors three intercepts which kept them camped inside their half.

Bosch knocked over a long-range effort to give his side the lead with four minutes to play in the half.

The Sharks gave away a penalty just before the hooter, allowing the Crusaders one last attack.

However, the home team – again – lost possession after winning their lineout, and the visitors held on.

Bosch keeps the scoreboard ticking over

The penalties mounted against the Crusaders.

Joe Moody conceeded two inside 10 minutes after the restart, one for collapsing a scrum and the other for not rolling away after the tackle.

Bosch made the loosehead prop and his team pay.

He slotted two penalties, into the breeze, one from 46 metres as he built a two-score lead for his team.

The Crusaders kept making elementary mistakes, which is unlike the franchise.

They are usually clinical, and their fundamentals are among the best in the world.

Crusaders get into their groove

The home team did eventually put some sustained attacks together.

They limited their handling mistakes in the third quarter and slowly built up a head of steam.

The hosts scored their second try off the back of a dominant scrum, winning a penalty.

They decided to scrum again. The ball was recycled quickly before Read put Goodhue through a little gap.

The centre danced past two defenders and dotted down next to the right-hand post. Mitch Hunt’s conversion made it a one-point ball game.

The tourists were under the pump, yet somehow, they found a way to stem the flow.

Michael Alaalatoa gave away another scrum-penalty for collapsing, his second of the night.

Ben Funnell, from the resulting lineout, conceded for not releasing the tackler.

It allowed Bosch to knock over a 35-metre penalty, his sixth of the night.

Discipline was an issue throughout the game for the home team.

Just as they starting a series of attacks, they would concede a penalty.

Bosch slotted another penalty, a couple of minutes after pushing one wide, making it a seven-point game with five minutes to play.

Thrilling finale

The Crusaders put the visitors under enormous pressure in the death throes of the contest.

They camped on the opposition’s try-line. The Sharks could not get out.

Sbu Nkosi tackled Brayden Ennor into touch as the centre went for the corner flag. Nkosi was, however, offsides.

The Crusaders kept coming, like waves on the beach they could not be stopped, eventually, the white wall was breached.

Sustained pressure turned into points when Hunt scored next to the posts.

His third conversion levelled the game, keeping the home team’s unbeaten home streak going.

Final Score: Crusaders 21 (7) Sharks 21 (9)


Tries – Taylor, Goodhue, Hunt
Pen –
Con – Hunt (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries –
Pen – Bosch (7)
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee:  Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Munro
TMO: Glenn Newman


15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Tim Bateman.


15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Thomas du Toit.

Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Marius Louw.

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