Crusaders crush Sharks to reach Super semis

The Canterbury Crusaders continued their season-long odyssey by overwhelming a spirited but ill-disciplined Sharks side 36-8 in Nelson on Saturday to reach the Super Rugby semi-finals for the 10th successive season.

Tries from centre Sonny Bill Williams, captain Kieran Read and prop Ben Franks as well as 19 points from the boot of Dan Carter proved more than enough to overhaul an early Sharks lead and set up a last four clash with the Stormers.

The seven-times champion Crusaders, condemned to playing all their matches on the road this season after February’s deadly earthquake in Christchurch, now face an 11 000 km trip to Cape Town.

Their victory also sends the Auckland Blues, 26-13 winners over the New South Wales Waratahs in their first round playoff on Friday, to Brisbane to meet the Queensland Reds in next Saturday’s other semi.

“It took a bit of time, we knew that was going to be the case but the guys just stuck to it,” Read said in a televised pitchside interview.

“It’s just part of this journey these boys have created this season and we want to do well over there [in South Africa] and hopefully get another win under our belts.”

The Durban-based Sharks, who had great success counter-rucking at the breakdown in the first half, will rue their high penalty count and the number of times they turned over the ball.

Having stunned the double defending champion Bulls 26-23 in their final regular season match last weekend, they had been hoping to inflict a first ever ‘home’ defeat on the Crusaders in Super rugby playoffs.

Giving away a kickable penalty in the opening seconds of the contest was not the ideal start but after 10 minutes they had the lead when Willem Alberts forced himself over the line for an early try.

A brilliant 40-metre line break from scrumhalf Charl McLeod got the ball to within a couple of metres of the Crusaders try line and No. 8 Alberts burrowed through the defence from close range.

It took another 20 minutes until the Trafalgar Park crowd saw the kind of attacking play the Crusaders have built their success on, and even then Zac Guildford spilled the ball to end the move.

Two minutes later, winger Sean Maitland’s hard running made something of a far less promising move and he offloaded the ball in the tackle to allow Williams to score.

Carter converted and added his second penalty to give his side a 13-5 lead at halftime but it was a burst of 13 points in 10 minutes soon after the break that won the match.

Two penalties from Carter sandwiched an interception try from No. 8 Read and when Franks forced himself over the line for the third try two minutes from time the match was over as a contest.

“We would have liked to have gone on further but we came up against a championship team tonight,” said Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche.

“For a team to come together the whole season, not to play one home game all season, well, the Sharks wish them all the very best.” — Reuters

Staff Reporter
Guest Author

Senior SANDF colonel involved in an alleged business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

AU pushes the frontiers of transitional justice

Now these important policy developments must be implemented

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.