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Crusaders beat Sharks to book Stormers Semi

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Article Published: Saturday 25 June 2011|

The Crusaders booked a place in the Semi-finals against the Stormers after they beat the Sharks 36-8 in Nelson in the second Super Rugby play off.

The result means that the Crusaders will play the Stormers in Cape Town and the Blues will play the Reds in Brisbane in the Semi-finals.

The Crusaders got an almost perfect start as Willem Alberts conceded a penalty in under thirty seconds for entering a ruck from the side. Dan Carter kicked the penalty which gave the Crusaders an early lead.

Alberts however soon made up for his early mistake by scoring the first try of the match after an excellent break from Sharks number 9 Charl McLeod. Patrick Lambie was unable to convert the try.

The Crusaders regained the lead though 20 minutes later with a try by Sonny Bill Williams which was set up by a break from returning winger Sean Maitland.

Another penalty kick from Dan Carter just before half time gave the Crusaders a half time lead of 13-5.

In a titanic clash between two sides who relished an intensely physical forward battle, just one try separated them early in the second half before the Crusaders unleashed 23 unanswered points.

They outscored the Sharks three tries to one with the game turning on a runaway intercept try by captain Kieran Read midway through the second half from which the Sharks never recovered.

As the New Zealand Conference champions stepped up the pace, the travel fatigue began to tell on the Sharks, who had a disrupted trip to Nelson because of flight disruptions caused by the ash cloud from Chile's Puyehue volcano.

The Sharks conceded points from the kick off when they tried to run themselves out of trouble but instead fell foul of the referee at the first maul leaving Dan Carter with a simple shot at goal.

The Sharks put the first try on the board when scrumhalf Charl McLeod cut through a gaping hole in a Crusaders lineout to ignite a 65-metre run which resulted in Willem Alberts crashing through the scrambling Crusaders defence.

McLeod's ingenuity in the sixth minute was the only telling break in the tensely contested match until 25 minutes later when Matt Todd freed up Sonny Bill Williams for an end-to-end break by the Crusaders.

The final pass in the move to Zac Guildford was lost, but the Crusaders pack hustled the Sharks off the ball in the scrum and Sean Maitland, coming back from a long injury break, sent Williams over.

Carter, who missed two penalties in the half, landed the conversion and another penalty for the Crusaders to lead 13-5 at the turn.

Patrick Lambie narrowed the gap to 13-8 with a penalty early in the second half before the Crusaders began to click first with another Carter penalty and then Read's perfectly anticipated intercept try.

The All Blacks backrower had waited patiently midfield as both sides entered into a lengthy kicking duel and when Shark's fly-half Frederic Michalak decided it was time to run again Read was waiting to snaffle a floating pass.

The try took the fight out of the Sharks, who struggled to reach the half-way line for the remaining 30 minutes.

Carter landed two more penalties for a match haul of 19 points and replacement prop Ben Franks scored a late try.

The Crusaders move on to Cape Town for a replay of their 12th round clash against the Stormers which they won 14-20.

Final Score Crusaders 36 Sharks 8


Tries - S.B Williams, K Read, B Franks
Pen - D Carter 5
Con - D Carter 2, M Berquist
Drop -
Cards -

Tries - W Alberts
Pen - P Lambie
Con -
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Bryce Lawrence
AR 1: Keith Brown
AR 2: Vinny Munro
TMO: Garratt Williamson


Crusaders :1. Wyatt Crockett 2. Corey Flynn 3. Owen Franks 4. Brad Thorn 5. Sam Whitelock 6. George Whitelock 7. Matt Todd 8. Kieran Read (c) 9. Andy Ellis 10. Dan Carter 11. Zac Guildford 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Robbie Fruean 14. Sean Maitland 15. Tom Marshall

Replacements : 16. Quentin MacDonald 17. Ben Franks 18. Luke Romano 19. Jonathan Poff 20. Kahn Fotuali'i 21. Matt Berquist 22. Ryan Crotty/Brent Ward

Sharks :1. Tendai Mtawarira , 2. Bismarck du Plessis , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 4. Gerhard Mostert , 5. Alistair Hargreaves , 6. Keegan Daniel , 7. Jean Deysel , 8. Willem Alberts , 9. Charl McLeod , 10. Frederic Michalak , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 12. Meyer Bosman , 13. Stefan Terblanche (Captain) , 14. JP Pietersen , 15. Patrick Lambie

Replacements , 16. John Smit , 17. Eugene van Staden , 18. Ross Skeate , 19. Ryan Kankowski , 20. Jacques Botes , 21. Adrian Jacobs , 22. Louis Ludik

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