Crusaders beat Highlanders

Canterbury Crusaders. (Gallo)

Canterbury Crusaders. (Gallo)

The Crusaders beat the Highlanders 34-8 to win the New Zealand conference in Super Rugby.

Flanker Matt Todd scored two tries and Dan Carter kicked 12 points as the Crusaders beat the Highlanders 34-8 to win the New Zealand conference on Saturday and likely seal a home semifinal in Super Rugby.

Carter, playing out of position at inside center, landed four penalties and a conversion as the Crusaders posted their 11th win of the season to establish themselves as the best team in a strong New Zealand pool. 

They can only be denied a home semifinal if the Durban-based Sharks take a bonus point from their match against the Stormers later Saturday and win that match by more than 36 points. 

The Highlanders are playoff-bound for the first time in 12 years despite the defeat, playing either the Crusaders or Sharks in the first round. –Sapa-AP

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