Christchurch - Tom Taylor's boot proved the decisive difference as the Crusaders pulled off a narrow 30-26 (half-time 18-11) victory over the Rebels in
their Super Rugby encounter on Sunday.
The win lifted the seven-time
champions to seventh on the table, but it was not a performance they
were happy with against a team languishing near the bottom of the table.
The match marked the return of All Blacks
goal-kicking maestro Dan Carter - who has missed the past four weeks
because of paternity leave and a hamstring injury - but his performance
was overshadowed by Taylor's kicking prowess.
GALLERY: Super Rugby - Week 11
inside-centre landed six penalties, three of them into the teeth of a
strong wind in the closing quarter of the game after the Rebels had led
The Rebels had the satisfaction of outscoring the Crusaders
by three tries to two, leaving the Crusaders captain George Whitelock
disappointed with his side's performance and thankful for Taylor's
"We started well but then we took the foot right
off the throat and let the Rebels right back in. Our defence was pretty
passive," he said, adding that the message was clear when the Rebels
led with 20 minutes remaining.
"We needed to work away and wear them down and we eventually got the penalties."
Rebels, refreshed from a bye last week, opened with more vigour than
the Crusaders as they recovered the kick-off and worked their way up to
But it was the Crusaders who scored first when Matt Todd
snapped up a turnover ball to ignite a counter-attack from his own line
which ended with Zac Guildford scoring in the corner at the other end
of the field.
Tyler Bleyendaal added the second try, running
straight through the scrambling Rebels' defence from a close-range scrum
and Taylor's conversion gave the Crusaders an early 12-0 lead.
was the end of the Crusaders try-scoring endeavours as the Rebels
struck back with a penalty to James O'Connor who then converted Scott
Higgenbotham's try at the end of an 80m break which started from a
Taylor added two penalties and O'Connor kicked his second for the Crusaders to turn with an 18-11 lead.
a further exchange of penalties following the restart, the Rebels
produced an inspirational five-minute spell, scoring two tries to hit
O'Connor got the first, punishing the Crusaders for
falling off two tackles and from the restart the Rebels immediately went
back on attack and hooker Ged Robinson scored from a lineout.
with Carter coming off the bench along with All Blacks Wyatt Crockett
and Andy Ellis the Crusaders were able to improve their territorial
control, allowing Taylor to land the match-winning penalties.Scorers:
Tries: Zac Guildford, Tyler Bleyendaal
Conversion: Tom Taylor
Penalties: Taylor (6)
Tries: Scott Higginbotham, James O'Connor, Ged Robinson
Penalties: O'Connor (3)
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty,
12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8
7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke
Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Joe Moody
Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20
Andy Ellis, 21 Dan Carter, 22 Adam WhitelockRebels:
15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11
Cooper Vuna, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain),
7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3
Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson
Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Luke Jones, 19 Gareth Delve, 20 Nic
Stirzaker, 21 Angus Roberts, 22 Lachlan Mitchell