The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Crusaders beat Highlanders 34-8, close in on home semifinal in Super Rugby

  • Print

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - 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 the Super Rugby playoffs.

Carter, playing out of position at inside centre, 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.

"We talked about being able to take momentum into the playoffs," Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty said. "We had a stuff-up against the Hurricanes a couple of weeks ago, but we've had a couple of good wins over the Blues and the Highlanders, which gives us that momentum going into the finals.

"It's been a good couple of weeks. The boys have had that edge in training. We've talked a lot about preparing generally and the guys feel pretty excited about what they can achieve."

Despite the defeat, the Highlanders are playoff-bound for the first time in 12 years, playing either the Crusaders or Sharks in next weekend's first round.

Todd scored his tries in almost identical fashion in a four-minute span on either side of halftime, first giving the Christchurch-based Crusaders a 17-3 lead at the break, then a 24-3 lead at the start of the second half.

On both occasions, the Crusaders won penalties, kicked to the corner, won the lineout and drove through the Highlanders' ragged defence to score.

Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo then scored in the 48th minute for the Crusaders' third try in a nine-minute burst, putting the match well out of reach.

The Highlanders scored a try through winger Richard Buckman in the 66th minute after several minutes of intense pressure finally created a breach in the Crusaders' wall.

Hooker Corey Flynn then scored the Crusaders' fourth try and critical bonus point in the 72nd minute. It was his 20th Super Rugby try in 148 matches for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders still look considerably less dominant this season than they have in past years they racked up seven Super Rugby titles. They have outstanding players, but lack strength across the field and are noticeably aging.

The Highlanders, meanwhile, will have a tougher job re-establishing their momentum after back-to-back losses to the New South Wales Waratahs and Crusaders.

"It definitely hurts but we've got a chance, we're in the playoffs and we've got to be better next week," Highlanders captain Nasi Manu said.

____

Crusaders 34 (Matt Todd 2, Nemani Nadolo, Corey Flynn tries; Dan Carter conversion, 4 penalties), Highlanders 8 (Richard Buckman try; Hayden Parker penalty). HT: 17-3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Maurice Leggett on his three interceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google