Crusaders seal playoff berth

2012-07-14 11:14

Christchurch - The Crusaders smashed Australia's Force in the first half before claiming a bonus point 38-24 victory to secure fourth place in the final Super Rugby standings on Saturday.

The seven-time champions ran in tries through Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Andy Ellis and Matt Todd before the break to ensure a playoff back at Rugby League Park in Christchurch next weekend, most likely against South Africa's Bulls or Sharks.

All Blacks Dan Carter and Richie McCaw were withdrawn at half-time for the playoff campaign ahead and the Crusaders took their foot off the gas to allow the Perth-based Force back into the contest in the second half.

The Force scored a converted tries through Kyle Godwin, Alfie Mafi and Josh Holmes to give Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe something to smile about in his 162nd and final Super Rugby match.

"We played with good intensity at the end of the first half and really had them on the ropes and it's a shame we couldn't continue it," Crusaders skipper McCaw said in a televised interview.

"We're back to square one next week and we've ourself a chance in the finals so we'll see how that goes."

The Crusaders started at a canter and the match was less than a minute old when fullback Dagg touched down in the corner and flyhalf Carter converted brilliantly from the touchline.

While there was room for debate about whether Dagg had got the ball down cleanly, there was no doubt about Maitland's effort 15 minutes later after the winger cut through the defence to score.

The fourth official was back in action after 34 minutes, however, and he confirmed the third try despite scrumhalf Ellis forcing his way over the line with what looked like a double movement.

The pick of the tries came straight from the ensuing kickoff with McCaw, playing at No 8, snaring the ball and sparking a sweeping move that flanker Todd finished off from a metre out.

Carter had time to kick his second penalty and send his team into the break 32-3 up with, barring an incredible turnaround, fourth place in the final standings in the bag.

There was to be no fairytale ending for Sharpe, however, although lively replacement back Godwin grasped his opportunity to impress with a good take of a low pass for his try and a neat inside pass to give fullback Mafi the second.

Crusaders flanker George Whitelock was sin-binned six minutes from time for slowing down Force ball and the visitors took advantage to score their third try from a neat back row move.

"It was very spirited," said Sharpe. "But you can't give the Crusaders the start we gave them in the first half.

"I had my last game against the team I consider to be the toughest competition I faced over my career."



Tries: Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Andy Ellis, Matt Todd; Conversions: Dan Carter (3); Penalties: Carter (2), Tom Taylor (2).


Tries: Kyle Godwin, Alfie Mafi, Josh Holmes; Conversions: Brett Sheehan (2), Godwin; Penalties: Ben Seymour



15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Richie McCaw (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks

Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Robbie Fruean

15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Manu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Tetera Faulkner

Substitutes: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Pek Cowan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kyle Godwin, 22 Will Tupou


  • tom.tardis - 2012-07-14 11:24

    Thanks Force...put half the bankroll on the halftime handicap +42.5 to the Force, nicely done!!! Money made! Bulls you better finish in the top 6. Isak, you mongo

      piet.pompies.9256 - 2012-07-14 11:29

      Is verslaggewers by Beeld/News 24 dalk alwetend? Kyk net wat staan onder die opskrif "Wat Sê Jy" vroeër vanoggend in die aanlyn weergawe van Beeld..... "Volgens my beskeie mening is daar drie dinge wat die Leeus laat wen het Saterdag" Kyk gerus op Piet Pompies FB blad vir foto wat ek dmv "Print Screen" en "paint" kon berg. Regs onder op foto wys dit duidelik vandag se datum en vanoggend se tyd. Vir die wat dink hierdie is gemanipuleer, kyk ook na die vlg foto!

  • will.bains.50 - 2012-07-14 11:32

    If their 2 teams dont meet in the semis i sense an all New Zealand final coming.

      skipper.mariner - 2012-07-14 11:40

      En die koeitjies sal voor die TV sit en kwyl met hul pienk panties aan.Ou Lloyd sal seker weer in Danville met sy gesteelde Aston Martin Matchbox karretjie jaag om n heupvervanging op sy sussie se houtpop te doen.Onthou n Carpenter in Danville is in hul oe dieselfde as n Ortopeut!

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-14 11:53

      bud will bains said an all nz final if they dont meet in the semis. wtf is wrong with u mongo? oh right, you are a mongo. like a cross between jacob zuma and a mongo

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-14 12:55

      ok let me tell u in mongo derpa derpa ah home ne normers noose noonine again ne nemmels

  • dave.short.102 - 2012-07-14 12:04

    Sal maar sien manne, bulle moet eers die Lions wen voor ons verder kan praat! Hoop maar dinge gaan goed om 3 SA spanne te he. Bulls groete

  • sbonelo.dladla1 - 2012-07-14 12:42

    to be quite honest, I dont wana face these guys in the semis! Go Sharks!!!

      dave.short.102 - 2012-07-14 12:57

      No one does

  • jacques.duplessis.3785 - 2012-07-14 13:15

    And that win will see the end of the sharks

  • heinrich.vanjaarsveld.52 - 2012-07-14 13:19

    Shock of the week REBELS crush stormers GO REBELS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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