Crusaders back in the hunt
Brenden Nel
May 05, 2013

The Crusaders took a massive step towards re-establishing themselves as Vodacom Super Rugby title prospects with a comprehensive 30-23 win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

In the process they also did the Bulls a favour in the race for a home semifinal, and ensured that the playoff spots will continue to be a hotly contested affair as the competition starts to angle towards its final weeks.

While the scoreline flatters the Brumbies, the Crusaders produced a well-controlled effort, exploiting the Brumbies’ weaknesses and playing to their own strengths to come back from 10-0 down to surge to victory, although they will be disappointed they missed out on a bonus point in the end.

And while the focus has been on other teams, it was also a clear indication that the seven-time champions are stepping up their effort and will be a dominant force in the final weeks of the competition.

However, the way the home side started would have rattled many teams, especially when Matt Tomua pounced to intercept Dan Carter’s pass and race 60 metres downfield to score against the run of play.

A penalty by Christian Lealiifano shortly afterwards made it 10-0 and it looked that, despite having less ball and territory, the home side were on their way to produce a decent win.

However, it didn’t take long for the Crusaders machine to click into gear, and after a Carter penalty put them on the board, they managed to get away with some obstruction at the scrum as Brumbies halfback Nick White was held back, allowing Andy Ellis to scoot over from a 5m scrum to get them back on level terms.

Despite some sparring, the second half produced a decent start for the Crusaders as Zac Guildford was put into space and pinned his ears back to score.

Having grasped the lead for the first time in the game, the Crusaders wouldn’t look back, and forced penalties for Carter to stretch the lead to 23-10.

Lealiifano grabbed a penalty back to bring the Brumbies within 10 and they looked as if they were to make a game of the final minutes, attacking the Crusaders' line with wave after wave.

But just as it looked as if they were going to break through, they lost the ball and some deft thinking by Israel Dagg started a counter attack on his own line, feeding the rest of the backline before Robbie Fruean gave the ball back to him to step inside Robbie Coleman for a beautiful 80-metre try.

It was the nail in the coffin of the Brumbies that ensured victory for the Crusaders, and despite the fact that Ben Mowen found his way back over the touchline to score, it was never going to be enough to stop the red and black Christchurch team.

A late Lealiifano penalty got the Brumbies an important losing bonus point – one that may be critical in the weeks to come – but it was scant consolation for being beaten by a Crusaders team that looked full of purpose and finding their straps away from home.


Brumbies – Tries: Matt Toomua, Ben Mowen. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano, Toomua. Penalties: Lealiifano (3).

Crusaders – Tries: Andrew Ellis, Zac Guildford, Israel Dagg. Conversions: Dan Carter (3). Penalties: Carter (3).

Absa Under 19 Competition
Saturday, September 20 2014
11:20 - Valke U19 vs Griffons U19
Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Absa Under 21 Competition
12:30 - Leopards U21 vs Blue Bulls U21
Profert Olen Park, Potch
12:30 - EP Kings U21 vs Griquas U21
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
12:45 - WP U21 vs Border U21
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
12:45 - Valke U21 vs Griffons U21
Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Absa Currie Cup First Division
LIVE SCORING 13:00 - SWD Eagles vs Boland Cavaliers
Outeniqua Park, George
Absa Under 19 Competition
13:30 - Pumas U19 vs Limpopo BB U19
Kees Taljaard Stadium, Middelburg
Inter Provincial Women A 1
14:00 - Eastern Province vs Blue Bulls
Central Grounds, Uitenhage
2015 Community Cup Qualifying - Regional Play-Offs
14:40 - Golden Lions 2 (Vaseline Wanderers) vs Pumas 2 (Sasol)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
15:00 - DHL Western Province vs GWK Griquas
DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Copyright 2011 - SARU. All Rights Reserved.