Planet Rugby

Crusaders win New Zealand Conference

12th July 2014 10:24

Share:

MATT TODD CRUSADERS

Two tries: Matt Todd

The Crusaders secured top spot in the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference on Saturday thanks to a 34-8 win over the Highlanders.

The bonus-point win also virtually assures the seven-time champions of a home semi-final as it means the Sharks must now score at least four tries and beat the Stormers by 35 points at Newlands later on Saturday.

Indeed, the Highlanders - who will finish sixth overall - and are now likely to travel to Durban to face the Sharks next weekend.

The Crusaders led 17-3 at the interval thanks to a handful of Dan Carter penalties and a Matt Todd try on the stroke of half time.

A second try for Todd and another for Nemani Nadolo early in the second half essentially settled the result for Crusaders.

Richard Buckman pulled a late try back for the Highlanders but the home side weren't to be denied that crucial fourth try as departing stalwart Corey Flynn touched down to cap a dominant display by the men in red.

Crusaders were ahead 6-3 at the end of the first quarter thanks to two Carter penalties while Hayden Parker replied with one for the visitors.

The Highlanders were forced to make a lot of tackles under relentless pressure from the home side and Carter could double his tally to put the Crusaders up 12-3 with halftime looming.

Skipper Kieran Read made a crucial call just before the break, choosing to kick for the corner from another penalty. It paid off as the Crusaders pack rumbled over after a textbook line-out and maul with Todd touching down.

Carter pushed his conversion attempt wide, but with a 14-point lead, the Crusaders were sitting pretty as the teams swapped ends.

Todd bagged his second try of the game in similar circumstances to the first as he broke off a maul to barge his way over.

Carter added the conversion this time and the Crusaders essentially sealed the result with their third try soon thereafter.

Andy Ellis took a tap penalty just inside the Highlanders' half, and Carter, Israel Dagg and Read played a part before the latter found the flying Nadolo, who raced home.

At 29-3, the Highlanders were out of it but the visitors kept fighting and finally got over the whitewash with 15 minutes left to play as Buckman beat three defenders to score in the corner.

The Crusaders line-out was once against the source of points for their fourth try. It was fitting that Flynn, a long servant of the Christchurch franchise, was the man to peel away from the drive to crash over and secure the bonus point.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Todd 2, Nadolo, Flynn
Con: Carter
Pens: Carter 4

For Highlanders:
Try: Buckman
Pen: Parker

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements:16 Corey Flynn, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Highlanders: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 JP Koen, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00