Crusaders beat valiant Lions

2012-03-31 19:01

Johannesburg - All Blacks star Dan Carter had a quiet first start of the season for Crusaders as they took control in the second half to defeat Lions 23-13 in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday.

The best fly-half in the world ceded the place-kicking duties to inside centre Tom Taylor, who succeeded with five of six shots at goal before a small Coca-Cola Park crowd given the seven-time champions were in town.

But Carter, sidelined by a groin injury during the triumphant march of New Zealand to the World Cup title at home last October, played a role in both Crusaders tries.

As the visitors menacingly moved the ball wide on 31 minutes, Carter reversed the flow with an inside pass to left wing Zac Guildford, who caught the Lions defence napping as he sprinted over for a try.

Taylor converted to give Canterbury an undeserved 10-6 lead as the Lions had been the dominant force and they finally made advantages in territory and possession tell when prop Patric Cilliers dived over for a try.

Fly-half Butch James added the extra points for a 13-10 half-time lead the Lions lost three minutes after the break when Carter was involved in a handling move that ended with Sean Maitland racing on to a grubber kick and scoring.

Taylor converted again and added two penalty goals, while James was well off target with a stoppage-time penalty attempt that he needed to score from to give the Lions the bonus point that their perspiration warranted.

Carter, who came off the bench in a victory over South African visitors Central Cheetahs in Christchurch last weekend, quit unharmed on the hour mark, with Ryan Crotty taking his place.

Another All Blacks icon, injured captain and flank Richie McCaw, has yet to play this season, but in his absence, the likes of man of the match Kieran Read and fellow back-row forward George Whitelock impressed.

"It was a really hard game and we had to dig deep in the second half to gain the ascendancy," admitted a smiling but breathless skipper Read, after a match staged 1,800 metres above sea level.

"We got close but not close enough," confessed Lions captain and flank Josh Strauss. "After a good first half we let ourselves down in the early stages of the second half."

Taylor kicked three penalties and two conversions for the visitors, who were winning for the third time in five outings, while James kicked two penalties and a conversion for a Lions team suffering their fourth consecutive loss.

The Crusaders picked up four points for their victory and moved into third position in the New Zealand Conference and sixth in the Overall standings.

The Lions left empty-handed and stayed bottom of the South African Conference and slipped to 14th in the Overall log. 

In next weekend's Round 7 action, the Crusaders visit Loftus Versfeld to play the Bulls, while the Lions travel to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs.



15. James Kamana, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Jaco Taute, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Andries Coetzee, 10. Butch James, 9. Tian Meyer, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Joshua Strauss (captain), 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Marius Coetzer, 3. Patric Cilliers, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. Caylib Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Stephan Greeff, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Lionel Mapoe

15. Israel Dagg, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Tom Taylor, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Ryan Crotty, 22. Tom Marshall


  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-31 19:05

    The Lions were valiant and lost at home but the Sharks were struggling and won with 5 away from home? Nice reporting.

  • Lion - 2012-03-31 20:31

    Lions Sucked on the night... To many errors and too many penalties given away. We lost against ourselves again. This game was for the taking. The Crusaders are not that good this year. They have a few game breakers and a fairly ok forward pack. We were not up to par and poor decision making attributed as well. Carter is not on form yet. Why on earth don't we attack his channel? Get the big guys to run hard at him. He obviously put on some weight and lost a yard or two in pace while he was off. Target that!!!!!!!!!!!! JOSH... Take the three points when it's handed to you on a plate!!!!!!!!!!!! It puts you in reach when the game comes down to the wire in the end. They just cant finish good. Held up over the try line. Comedy of errors. You need to wake up Lions!!!!!

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-01 07:47

      it's his first start in over 8 months !!! At his worst, he is still better than anything you have !!! oh, and fack you and have a nice day !!! :)

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-01 07:50

      And Lion I am just getting defencive cause you called DC fat !!! ;)

      Lion - 2012-04-01 08:34

      Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy... No disrespect intended towards DC. He is one of the all time greats. All my respect there. But facts is facts. He is slower than he was. Definitely lost those little touches that made him the best in the world. Believe me, he will be back up there again in no time. The Lions should have exploited this. They did not attack his channel. When you come back from an injury like a groin which he had it is human nature to nurse it first few games back on the park and avoid contact. Hence the fact that he appear a bit slower than he was. I apologize for offending your hero. It was not my intention and I still think he is the best fly half in world rugby.

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-01 10:15

      I know and you are right... Was just joking, well sort of, am in a bit of a bromance with Dan :)

  • Herbert - 2012-03-31 21:41

    Who had the bright idea of letting two teams play with such similar strips?!?! I could hardly work out who was who. I think some of the Lions players had the same problem.

      David - 2012-03-31 23:43

      I think it was Strauss early on who passed to a Crusaders players thinking it was a team mate. The Lions were on a storming run towards the tryline and gifted possession away

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-04-01 08:55

      True, and they often change the strips when it is completely unnessessary. Weird.

  • Robsschele - 2012-03-31 22:56

    I said it before that the Lions and Cheetahs play their best rugby against the coastal teams of SA. They go full out to beat those two teams. I wish they can put the same effort in against other teams as well. The Cheetahs did well this morning against the Hurricanes. I hope they will also do well against the Lions this coming Saturday.

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-01 07:47

    Its Barney Simon's fault the lions lost he his always playing there song on jacaranda so he must have jinxed them or something

  • Ockie - 2012-04-01 09:16

    Sorry Lions. The Crusaders is a very good team and you tried valiantly but in the end the errors cost you. The young Lions team gained valuable experience. Some young players put their hands up and showed that they belong in this league. Coetzee impress.

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