Planet Rugby

Crusaders nil the Stormers

29th February 2008 20:21

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Dan Carter gets away from Tiaan Liebenberg

Cape Crusader: Dan Carter gets away from Tiaan Liebenberg at Newlands

The Crusaders underlined their Super 14 intentions by conquering Cape Town on Friday, recording an abrasive 22-0 win over the Stormers at Newlands - the home side's first nilling in the tournament's history.

There was no mistaking the relative league standings of these two sides. The Crusaders started the game as table toppers, the Stormers were trapped under the weight of 13 other teams - and that's where they both remain.

Despite a bright start and proud end, the Stormers failed to find a foothold on the red and black obstacle that loomed over Newlands like Table Mountain itself.

Faster in mind and in body, stronger in the set-piece and the tackle, hungrier in possession and defence, the Crusaders had the game in the bag as early as the break.

True, they only held an 11-0 lead at that point, but even the local dancing girls sensed the onset of doom. Their high kicks and pompoms began to wilt as the tournament favourites slowly turned up the heat.

Denied the huge physicality of Schalk Burger - cooling his heels following his soccer moment during last week's defeat to the Sharks - the Stormers decided to take it wide at pace, and it paid some early dividends.

But putting together a decisive start was perhaps the worse thing that they could have done. The visitors weathered the storm and soon got their collective eye in.

A straight-arm tackle from Peter Grant allowed Dan Carter to open the scoring in the 15th minute and that was that: South African heads went down and the New Zealanders never looked back.

The Crusaders extended their lead ten minutes later, sucking in the home defence with a forward maul that took them close to the line before Andrew Ellis darted over in the corner.

Despite making a number of mistakes, the Crusaders' pack was dominant, and a powerful forward drive forced the home defence to concede a penalty, which Carter kicked to make it 11-0 at the break.

The All Black pivot added another penalty shortly after the restart as the Crusaders picked up where they had left off before the interval.

Carter was once again involved as the Crusaders rumbled up towards the Stormers line a short time later, his pinpoint cross-field kick finding Sean Maitland, and the late replacement for Kade Poki scored the easiest of tries.

Ricky Januarie's eagerness to spoil at the base of the scrum cost the Stormers another three points after an hour as Carter kicked the penalty.

That, at least, marked the end of the punishment for the locals, who weathered the final 20 minutes without conceding another point.

But the Stormers now embark on a four-week tour without having managed to pick up a win from their opening three games - two of which have been at home.

It's a task not even the cape crusader of Gotham City would relish.

Man of the match: Robbie Diack - a late replacement for Luke Watson - and Ricky Januarie got through heaps of work for the Stormers, but even they were eclipsed by a quite a few New Zealanders. Leon MacDonald, Stephen Brett, Andrew Ellis and Corey Flynn all showed flashes of brilliance, as did Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter ... of course! But our man of the match is the cool and collected Mose Tuiali'i - a man in possession of quick feet, quick hands and a quick brain.

Moment of the match: Not that many magic moments - but Carter's cross-field kick to Maitland deserves a mention. We'll opt for the Stormers' storming start - a clear indication that they are punching well below their weight. They have got the goods, when will they ever deliver?

Villian of the match: One moment of cynical shirt-pulling from the visitors, but we failed to get the man's name. No award.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:

Tries: Ellis, Maitland

Pens: Carter 4

Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (c), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Pieter Myburgh, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Deon Fourie, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Gio Aplon, 22 Dylan des Fountain.

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Stephen Brett, 11 Caleb Ralph, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andrew Ellis, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Richard McCaw (c), 6 Kieran Read, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Greg Somerville, 18 Reuben Thorne, 19 Nasi Manu, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Tim Bateman, 22 Hamish Gard.

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Touch judges: Brett Bowden (Australia), Pro Legoete (South Africa)

Television match official: Johan Meuwesen (South Africa)

Assessor: Dennis Immelman (South Africa)

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