Crusaders keep slim hopes alive
Cape Town - The Crusaders have kept their slim hopes of a Super Rugby playoff spot alive with victory over the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
As it happened: Blues v Crusaders
The Crusaders won 34-11 after leading 17-6 at half-time.
The Crusaders scored four tries through wing Nemani Nadolo, lock Luke Romano, flank Matt Todd and a penalty try. Flyhalf Dan Carter added all four conversions as well as two penalties.
The Blues replied with a try by wing Ben Lam and two Ihaia West penalties.
The Crusaders picked up a full-house of five points for their victory, but stayed third in the New Zealand Conference. Crucially they moved into seventh place in the Overall standings and will a chance in the final weekend of the season to reach the playoffs - provided the Chiefs don't beat the Reds in Brisbane and the Waratahs slip up against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in later Round 17 action.
The Blues left empty-handed and remained bottom of the New Zealand Conference and 14th in the Overall log.
In next weekend's Round 18 action, the Crusaders travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies (Saturday, June 13 at 07:30), while the Blues finish their season against the Highlanders in Auckland (Friday, June 12 at 09:35).
15 Matt Vaega, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nani, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Airi Hunt, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Will Lloyd, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Chris Vui, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt McGahan
15 Tom Taylor, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Matt Todd, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Kieron Fonotia