Crusaders pip Blues in opener

2012-02-24 10:15

Auckland - Blues' new recruit Piri Weepu missed a potential match-winning drop goal after the final whistle and the Crusaders held on to beat the home side 19-18 in their Super Rugby clash at Eden Park on Friday.

Four months after New Zealand captain Richie McCaw lifted the Webb Ellis trophy on the same ground, 13 World Cup winning All Blacks were included in the squads for the opening game of the 2012 Super Rugby competition.

Despite the numerous World Cup winners on show the match was punctuated by sloppy handling, poor tackling and a shaky Blues lineout, though it still provided sweeping movements from both sides that brought the crowd of more than 30 000 to full voice.

"We were pretty lucky to get away with it," Crusaders captain Kieran Read said. "There was real intensity out there and for a first hit out, it was really outstanding.

"We managed to put a bit of pressure down their end of the field which got us a few penalties and that's great."

The Crusaders' forwards slowly ground down the Blues' pack and kept them in the Auckland half for much of the second spell until the final minute when Weepu's drop goal attempt was partially charged and fluttered wide.

Crusaders rookie flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal, who stepped into the gap left by injured All Blacks pivot Dan Carter, looked comfortable with the step up from provincial rugby and slotted 14 points by converting Robbie Fruean's first half try and addding four penalties.

Blues loose forward Chris Lowrey and winger David Raikuna scored early tries while flyhalf Michael Hobbs kicked two penalties and a conversion.

"Games like this between the Blues and Crusaders come down to inches and that's what happened," Blues captain Keven Mealamu said.

"I think we scrambled well ... but our discipline could have been better and it was typical Crusaders rugby, just relentless pressure."

The 2012 Super Rugby competition stretches into August with a three-week break for internationals in June.


Crusaders - Tries: Robbie Fruean; Conversions: Tyler Bleyendaal; Penalties: Bleyendaal (4).

Blues - Tries: Chris Lowrey, David Raikuna; Conversions: Michael Hobbs; Penalties: Hobbs (2).


15. Isaia Toeava, 14. David Raikuna, 13. Rene Ranger, 12. Benson Stanley, 11. Rudi Wulf, 10. Michael Hobbs, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Jerome Kaino, 7. Daniel Braid, 6. Chris Lowrey, 5. Ali Williams, 4. Anthony Boric, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. Keven Mealamu (captain), 1. Tom McCartney.

Substitutes: 16. Pauliasi Manu, 17. Tevita Mailau, 18. Brad Mika, 19. Luke Braid, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Hadleigh Parkes, 22. Sherwin Lee Stowers.

15. Tom Marshall, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Israel Dagg, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Tom Donnelly, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Quentin MacDonald, 1. Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16. Corey Flynn, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Luke Romano, 19. Luke Whitelock, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Patrick Osborne, 22. Adam Whitelock.


  • Sarge - 2012-02-24 10:20

    Saders were pretty lucky! Good start to the 2012 Super Rugby Season

      Bootman - 2012-02-24 10:29

      I'm a no-good failure. I accuse people falsely and steal their profiles when I can't match their wit. It's what I do. I've got nothing else to offer. Even a blind man can see that the person I'm accusing and the person who actually copy my profile, writes in totally different ways. It's just a pity I'm too ignorent to see it. By the way - Well done Crusaders.

      Alan - 2012-02-24 10:42

      The Boot is on the other foot?

      Jason - 2012-02-24 10:43

      Both teams looked pretty polished, a little ominous for so early in the season. Well done Saders and especially the charge down on Weepu's drop at the death!

      Bootman - 2012-02-24 11:09

      Alan, I don't know which shoe to put on which foot, because I'm a moron.

      Alan - 2012-02-24 11:19

      Dear Bootman Put any boot on any foot, and the one that is left, goes on the left foot. Abby

      Bootman - 2012-02-24 11:32

      I don't understand, I'm an idiotic moron.

      Alan - 2012-02-24 11:50

      Best you got to Bootcamp then Bootman. Then you can be a Moron NoMor. Abby

      Bootman - 2012-02-24 11:52

      I'm beyond help, thanks anyway.

      Warrick - 2012-02-24 14:08


  • Nico - 2012-02-24 10:22

    Hard luck Blues, was hoping we could shut the cape crusaders up early in the season

      Jason - 2012-02-24 10:59

      Seriously Nico? you can actually take a game played halfway across the world between to foreign sides and turn it into a dig against Cape Town?? your talents are impressive........... Jealous of our mountain much?

      Heiku - 2012-02-24 11:10

      Blues are now also officially a cape unpatriotic team. Thanks to saffa

      Nico - 2012-02-24 11:27

      @jasoneye - Not taking a dig against cape town, taking a dig at the cape crusaders. Instead of being so emotional maybe you should brush up on your comprehension skills. You must be new around here

      Jason - 2012-02-24 11:32

      Who are the Cape Crusaders? Super Rugga has started and im in too good of a mood to fight, all I can say is thank god for the DSTV Walka!

      Nico - 2012-02-24 11:48

      @jason - the cape crusaders are a small group of fans in cape town who are extremely anti-bok and anti-south african. Most of them(not all) hate everything about SA. When we lose they are the 1st to come on here and spout rubbish about the Boks. Most of the older members here know that I like the Stormers and all the other SA franchises but support the Blues when it comes to super rugby.

      Jason - 2012-02-24 11:54

      Ahhh @Nico, I know exactly who you are talking about. I have had a few run ins with those exact people here in Cape Town.....................they are the ones who wear all black jerseys and cheer against South Africa but none of them have ever left the province! Please accept my apologies, Im hungover and grumpy!

      Lionel - 2012-02-24 11:58

      Nico and Jason,it all comes down to the old apartheid days and the way they were treated by WPRFU,thats there gripe with SA and SA RUGBY. Last year we had a right royal go at each other when your profile was still private and nobody knew who you were!!!!

      Nico - 2012-02-24 12:06

      @lionel - no point blaming apartheid when we in 2012. It's a weak excuse to be anti-SA. I'm coloured but see no reason to hate SA. They need to get over it. As a Blues and Bok supporter I'm in no position to point fingers at them for supporting the Crusaders but as a South African I have an issue with the way that they go overboard in their hate towards SA.

      Lionel - 2012-02-24 12:12

      Nico,I don't like to get involved with politics etc that I leave to politicians but yes you are correct its 2012,time to move on!!!! You my friend are entitled to support whomever you want!!!!!!Glad though that you support the Boks!!!!

  • BlouMasjien - 2012-02-24 10:27

    Die Kaap is weer Hollands, hul span het gewen

      Jimmy - 2012-02-24 10:34

      Good luck tonight, think you lads are gonna do very well !!!

      BlouMasjien - 2012-02-24 11:02

      Was dit nie vir die "Saders" nie was die kaap maar n mistroostige plek!

      Lionel - 2012-02-24 11:15

      @Blou,thats why all you Vaalies want to come and live here!!!!

      BlouMasjien - 2012-02-24 11:30

      @lionel, ag nee wat, n mens kan so nou en dan n draai in die kaap maak ,maar die Blou Bulle,Bekers,Braaivleis,Biltong,Boerewors en die Bosveld bly maar koning

      Lionel - 2012-02-24 11:42

      Blou,you forgot brandewyn en coke,that tops the list!!!

      BlouMasjien - 2012-02-24 11:46

      Eerder Brandewyn as papsak

  • Jimmy - 2012-02-24 10:33

    SADERS BABY !!!! Better start to the year than last.....

  • allblacknr1 - 2012-02-24 10:50

    Go Crusaders!!!!!!!!

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-02-24 11:45

    I can see a lot of people wish the Blues would win and being a proud SA supporter I did not mind who won between those two, but I did pick up that a few more decisions could have went in fav of the Crusaders. There where one or two obstructions/hold backs in the line outs holding the crusaders back and the blues tend to still play more over the ball. The ref missed a few of those happenings. Like I said, I am a proud SA supporter and I hope the refs do not continue where they stopped last year. Not a bad game. I am just so exited that the Super rugby started at last!!!!!!!! Men, remember to buy the ladies flowers through the tournament. Ladies, if not watching yourself, please try to understand. To the heavy supporters, like me, get your self a good divorce lawyer on standby. Some are going to need them after this tournament.LOL. Good luck to all you supporters. Irrelevant of who you support.

      Alan - 2012-02-24 11:51

      Yeah - buy the wives Barberton Daisies

      Alan - 2012-02-24 11:52

      Or Disa's

  • Kevin - 2012-02-24 11:54

    Well the curtain razor is over and the big game will kick off at 19h00 SA time ar loftus. Sharks to hammer Bulls

      Sean - 2012-02-24 16:41

      Not too sure your prediction will be correct tonight. As a neutral I'm really looking forward to the game tonight though.

  • Zion - 2012-02-24 17:20

    Tis my duty to support Crusaders this season: Hope Bryce has a happy and safe season.

  • Jco - 2012-02-25 03:36

    Het die game hier in New Zealand gekyk. Meeste voel hier dat dit nie 'n goeie wedstryd was en dat die eerste geelkaart gegee moes word teen Hobbs oor die hoog vat, maar niks het gebeur! Almal hier dink weer die jong onervare Bul span het goed gespeel teen die ervare springbok gelaaide Shark span. Hier het almal gedink die Sharks sou wen met ten minste 15 punte! Rugby bly maar interesant!

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