Planet Rugby

Crusaders book home play-off

14th July 2012 08:19

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Sean Maitland Israel Dagg Crusaders celebartion 2012

Early tries: Sean Maitland and Israel Dagg

The Crusaders cruised in the Super Rugby knock-out stages with a 38-24 win over the Western Force in Christchurch on Saturday.

It was a Jekyll-and-Hyde showing though from the Crusaders, who followed a commanding performance in the first half with a below-par second 40 minutes.

The seven-time champions wrapped up the four-try bonus point they were seeking by half time as they raced to a 32-3 at the interval.

There was no doubt about who the stronger team was but the Crusaders were given wake-up call after the break as the Force bounced back with three good tries.

Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Andy Ellis and Matt Todd all touched down for the hosts in the first period although there was a tinge of controversy to Dagg and Ellis's tries with the TMO making marginal calls on both occasions.

With the job done, Richie McCaw and Dan Carter - who had kicked 15 points - did not come out for the second half and Todd Blackadder's team were guilty of getting a little sloppy.

Tom Taylor was charged with extending the lead from the kicking tee shortly after the restart but the Force finally got over the whitewash in the 55th minutes when replacement back Kyle Godwin created and then finished a try well-worked try.

Force full-back Alfie Mafi added his name to the scoresheet and Brett Sheehan provided conversion to both tries to reduce the gap at 35-17.

The hosts fluffed a few more opportunities to score but with further tries not really necessary, they were happy to allow Taylor to add his second penalty.

The Force kept coming however and when Josh Holmes crossed in the dying minutes and Godwin added the conversion, it meant the hosts had outscored the Crusaders 21-6 in the second half.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Dagg, Maitland, Ellis, Todd
Cons: Carter 3
Pens: Carter 2, Taylor 2

For Western Force:
Tries: Godwin, Mafi, Holmes
Cons: Sheehan 2, Godwin
Pens: Seymour

Yellow card: George Whitelock (Crusaders - 75th min- repeated ruck infringement)

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Robbie Fruean.

Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Manu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Pek Cowan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kyle Godwin, 22 Will Tupou.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

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