Brumbies

Waratahs & Crusaders are Rd.4’s big winners

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New South Wales made its first Super 14 home match of the season a winning one Saturday, while the Canterbury Crusaders won their fourth in a row to join the Waratahs among the tournament’s top four.


Playing before 25,619 fans in a rare afternoon game, Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri broke an 11-match try-scoring drought to help the Waratahs to a 31-16 win over South Africa’s Sharks.


The Crusaders held Auckland scoreless in the second half to beat the Blues 39-10 at Christchurch, and fullback Ben Blair kicked 15 points for the Otago Highlanders to beat the Stormers 30-15 at Cape Town.


The Cheetahs rallied from 15 points down to beat the Wellington Hurricanes 27-25 at Bloemfontein. The Perth, Australia-based Western Force and South Africa’s Bulls had weekend byes.


Tuqiri scored one of the Waratahs’ three tries but scrambling Sharks defense in the last minutes of the match denied the home side a valuable four-try bonus point.


Center Shaun Berne and replacement forward Stephen Hoiles scored tries for New South Wales while winger Peter Hewat increased the Waratahs’ margin with 16 points from two conversions and four penalties.


Springboks fullback Percy Montgomery scored an intercept try for the Sharks, giving him five tries in four matches this season, tying Lome Fa’atau of the Wellington Hurricanes as the competition’s leading try scorer.


Montgomery also kicked a penalty, then handed the kicking duties to halfback Ruan Pienaar who converted his try and landed 2 penalties.


“We just couldn’t hang onto the ball out there,” said Waratahs captain Chris Whitaker. “They had all the possession but when we do hang onto the ball we showed we can score tries. That’s something we have to work on.” Mat Rogers took the field as a second-half replacement at flyhalf and made two telling breaks before throwing a careless pass which was intercepted by Montgomery, who ran 60 meters to score.


“The first half was quite good for us,” said Sharks captain A.J.Venter. “It lapsed a bit in the second half so it’s back to the drawing board.” At Christchurch, Richie McCaw scored two tries and Daniel Carter kicked 22 points as the Crusaders stayed perfect after four rounds.


Carter kicked conversions of tries by McCaw and replacement Johnny Leo’o and added six penalties.


McCaw scored twice in the last three minutes to increase the Crusaders margin but a four-try bonus point eluded the defending champions. The Crusaders trailed 10-9 at halftime.


“The Blues threw everything at us and got points on us in the first half but the guys kept their composure and we really went up a level to come away with the win,” McCaw said.


At Cape Town, winger Roy Kinikinilau scored two tries in a clinical display by the Highlanders against a Stormers side that missed many tackles and kicked away possession too often.


Stormers winger Rayno Benjamin scored a try when he took a pass on the blindside of a scrum, chipped over the defense to touch down after the bounce had eluded Blair for the Stormers to lead 10-7.


But Kinikinilau ran through some more average defense for his second try just before halftime, and replacement Richard Kahui soon touched down for a third try for the visitors.


Stormers replacement flyhalf Naas Olivier scored a last-minute consolation try.


In Bloemfontein, The Cheetahs came back from 25-10 down – through converted tries by fullback Bevin Fortuin and No. 8 Ryno van der Merwe, and a drop goal from scrumhalf Noel Oelschig – to win just its second game.


Hooker Andrew Hore, the stand-in captain after Tana Umaga was replaced with a recurrence of his thigh injury after 10 minutes, scored the Hurricanes’ first try from a rolling maul in the first half.


Veteran prop Os du Randt soon scored a rare try of his own, but Hurricanes fullback Shannon Paku touched down to put Wellington 18-10 up at halftime.


Ma’a Nonu finished off a counterattack 13 minutes into the second half – and Jimmy Gopperth kicked the conversion – to put the visitors 15 points clear.


But Van der Merwe finished off a 25-meter rolling maul and flyhalf Meyer Bosman kicked the conversion in the 71st to cap the Cheetahs’ comeback.


On Friday, the ACT Brumbies opened the fourth round with a 28-7 win over South Africa’s Cats and Waikato easily beat Queensland 35-17, the Reds’ fourth loss in a row.


^—– Weekend summaries: Cheetahs 27 (Os du Randt, Bevin Fortuin, Ryno van der Merwe tries; Meyer Bosman 3 conversions; Bosman penalty; Noel Oelschig drop goal) def. Wellington Hurricanes 25 (Andrew Hore, Shannon Paku, Ma’a Nonu tries; Jimmy Gopperth 2 conversions; Gopperth 2 penalties).


Otago Highlanders 30 (Roy Kinikinilau 2, Richard Kahui tries; Ben Blair 3 conversions; Blair 3 penalties), Stormers 15 (Rayno Benjamin, Naas Olivier tries; Peter Grant conversion; Grant penalty).


Canterbury Crusaders 39 (Richie McCaw 2, Johnny Leo’o tries; Daniel Carter 2 conversions, 6 penalties; Cameron McIntyre conversion), Auckland Blues 10 (Doug Howlett try; Isa Nacewa conversion, penalty).


New South Wales Waratahs 31 (Shaun Berne, Lote Tuqiri, Stephen Hoiles tries; Peter Hewat 2 conversions, 4 penalties), Sharks 16 (Percy Montgomery try; Ruan Pienaar conversion, 2 penalties; Montgomery penalty).


ACT 28 (Adam Ashley-Cooper, Mark Gerard, Stirling Mortlock tries; Gerard 3 penalties, conversion, Matt Giteau conversion), Cats 7 (Earl Rose try, conversion).


Waikato 35 (Sosene Anesi, Stephen Donald, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Loki Crichton tries; Donald 3 conversions, 3 penalties), Queensland 17 (Drew Mitchell, Caleb Brown tries; Elton Flatley 2 conversions, penalty).


Source : Sapa-AP /ah

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