Planet Rugby

Crusaders go rolling on

06th March 2010 06:08

Share:

Dan Carter man alone

On the ball: Dan Carter

The Crusaders made it three wins from four in the Super 14 with a 33-20 win over the Blues on Saturday as clinical as it was excellent.

Much the same as last week, the Crusaders patiently held their opposition and waited for the mistakes to come, pouncing on each and every opportunity that came their way to seal the deal.

The Blues began the game with a huge drive 20m upfield and kick ahead which had Carter troubled as cover and turning the ball over - he was lucky to escape. They had all the possession and were rewarded with an early penalty to Stephen Brett.

Maitland's spilled high ball and a turnover at a close-range line-out - punished by a Brett drop goal - shortly after were sure-fire signs that the Crusaders were not quite on their game at the outset. By the tenth minute alone they had made four handling errors.

Yet the disciplinary monkey that had climbed all over the Blues' back in their first week loss to the Hurricanes once again made an appearance and a brace of Dan Carter penalties brought the hosts back to parity at 6-6 and the home side looked a good deal more settled.

Brett gave the Blues back the lead immediately following an infringement at the restart but finally, on 20 minutes, the error-strewn opening was given some fluency.

Carter was the architect, spotting the defence drifting a little too much and he cut inside, freeing up George Whitelock for a stroll under the posts.

It was the only really threatening action of a tawdry first half, in which neither side found rhythm. The Blues persisted with punishing fringe pick and goes but the Crusaders quickly wised up and negated that by committing a maximum of two defenders to each ruck. The Crusaders played for territory but thus spent long periods without the ball. There really wasn't much to see.

Carter landed one more penalty and Brett two to make the score 16-15 at the break.

The second half was little better but it was tighter. There were fewer penalties and errors but neither side showed much desire to create spaces for the scorers, nor did either show much of the necessary skill. It became a tense tactical tussle as the teams waited for the critical mistake to come.

It came in the 56th minute. Andy Ellis put up a well-weighted chip which Rudi Wulf took running back, but Wulf fired a wild pass inside to try and launch a counter. Ryan Crotty gleefully raced between two hesitant would-be pass recipients, intercepted the floating ball and hared under the posts.

Carter landed another penalty shortly after to make it 26-15 and maintain his perfect kicking record and despite one superb solo attack by Brett, foiled by Carter, they rarely showed the thrust needed to breach the home side's line.

Carter's flat pass sent Robbie Fruean through a gap for the third try with twelve minutes to go, again under the posts and again with Carter converting.

Alby Mathewson nipped through an ill-defended ruck to notch a consolation for the Blues but the day belonged to the Crusaders.

Man of the match: One overcooked restart aside, Dan Carter did not put a foot wrong all day.

The scorers:

For the Crusaders:
Tries: G.Whitelock, Crotty, Fruean
Cons: Carter 3
Pens: Carter 4

For the Blues:
Try: Mathewson
Pens: Brett 4
Drop goal: Brett

Crusaders: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Richie McCaw (c), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Peter Borlase, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Colin Slade.

Blues: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Tom Chamberlain, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 George Pisi.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Josh Noonan (New Zealand)
TMO: Kane McBride (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs HarlequinsNorthampton vs Harlequins Preview
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058