advertisement

Horoscopes

Hot Topics on MSN NZ:
Fonterra job cuts MH17 bodies Bombing in Baghdad

Crusaders halt Stormers' Super Rugby run

21:30 Sat Apr 14 2012
AAP
The Crusaders finally broke the Stormers' unbeaten Super Rugby run with a crunching 31-24 win in Christchurch on Saturday
The Crusaders finally broke the Stormers' unbeaten Super Rugby run with a crunching 31-24 win in Christchurch on Saturday (Getty)

The Crusaders finally broke the Stormers' unbeaten Super Rugby run with a crunching 31-24 win in Christchurch on Saturday.

A flawless kicking display from first five-eighth Tom Taylor played a huge part; he racked up seven penalties and converted his own try to secure the Crusaders' fourth win from seven starts.

The Stormers suffered an early blow when lock Andries Bekker was forced from the field with a lower back injury but their lineout still continued to pressure the Crusaders.

Even with first five-eighth Peter Grant sidelined through injury soon after, the visitors' continuity impressed and their trademark aggressive defence kept the Crusaders behind the advantage line.

After an early exchange of penalties, the Crusaders crossed for the first try after tighthead prop Ben Franks forced the turnover, then quick hands shifted the ball wide for Taylor to round off with a clinical try.

The Crusaders continued to play at pace, although that proved their undoing in the 22nd minute when Dan Carter, playing at second five-eighth for the first time in seven years, mistimed a midfield pass.

Stormers centre Juan de Jongh toed ahead and showed a useful turn of pace to beat Carter and touch down for the try.

Taylor's impeccable boot gave the Crusaders a 19-13 lead at the break and the kicking battle continued in the second stanza until Bryan Habana gave the Stormers a break-through try after the Crusaders lost possession through an aimless Israel Dagg kick.

Fullback Joe Pieterson couldn't make the extras and the Crusaders held a narrow 22-21 lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Down to 14 men after flanker Rynhardt Elstadt was sin-binned five minutes later, the Stormers were hit hard by three late Taylor penalties as the Crusaders maintained intensity right until the final whistle.