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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411