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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821