Sunday, April 29, 2007

# 100. Crusaders Crash & Burn In Canberra (on,111,1998,html/Crusaders-Crash-amp-Burn-In-Canberra

The Crusaders’ six-game unbeaten run in the Rebel Sport Super 14 is over after the side crashed to a 6-15 defeat against an emotionally charged ACT Brumbies outfit in Canberra tonight.
Not only were the Crusaders beaten, they were also held try-less for the second time in 2007, although the quality of the defensive work on display was such that the victors failed to score a try either.
Instead, it was goal-kicking which called the tune in a semi-final-style match, with the Brumbies finally sealing the Crusaders’ fate three minutes before the end when first-five-eighths Stephen Larkham knocked over just the fifth dropped goal of his 12-year Super rugby career.
The goal had significance, both in allowing Larkham to possibly finish his Super rugby career at Canberra Stadium with a win, but also in terms of denying the Crusaders even a consolation point from the contest.
The visitors had the chance, after the final siren, to salvage a bonus point, but Daniel Carter missed with a long-range penalty goal attempt.
Because of that, while the Crusaders will end the penultimate round of the competition sitting on top of the Rebel Sport Super 14 ladder, they are still not guaranteed of a place in the semi-finals.

Seven teams – including the Brumbies – will now enter the final weekend of the regular season still entertaining prospects of featuring in the semi-finals.
As desperate as the Brumbies were tonight, the Crusaders only have themselves to blame for not grabbing the initiative in the contest.
The visitors were the more creative of the two sides with the ball in hand, and made double the amount of line breaks of the Brumbies, but simply lacked the desire and desperation to back up the ball carrier and make the incursions count.
Whereas the Brumbies frequently scrambled back in numbers on defence to smother the initial incision, the Crusaders ball runners too often became isolated and were inevitably shut down.
Ball control, both in contact, and from set pieces, also provided problems.
Seven Crusaders lineout throws were lost, while the pressure valve on the Brumbies’ defense was frequently released due to turnovers in possession, as a result both of impatience on behalf of the Crusaders, and also because of the physicality the Australians employed in the contact zone.
Both are areas coaches Robbie Deans and Mark Hammett are sure to address with the players this week ahead of the quick turnaround into what has now become a sudden death encounter on Friday night against the Chiefs.
If the Crusaders are as tentative in the contact area in that match as they were tonight, and show the same lack of composure in possession, all of their good work from earlier in the campaign could easily be undone.
It had all started so well in Canberra when powerful centre Casey Laulala broke through in the fifth minute of play, forcing a penalty after the Brumbies’ defence over-reacted and took an attacking player out with an early tackle.
Carter converted the opportunity into the opening three points of the evening, but the game quickly slid downhill – from a Crusaders’ perspective – from there.
It took another 53 minutes of play before the Crusaders were able to add to their tally and, by then, the situation in the game had changed dramatically – with the Brumbies in charge and riding the crest of the emotion provided by the vocal 20,000-strong crowd.
The Crusaders’ cause wasn’t helped when Richard McCaw was rather unfortunately sin-binned in the 29th minute for what was alleged to be an intentional knock down of the ball, when replays later showed that the Crusaders skipper hadn’t actually played the ball.
In his absence, Brumbies skipper Stirling Mortlock added to his 13th minute penalty goal to take his side into the lead.
And while the Crusaders comfortably held out for the 10 minutes that their skipper was absent from the field, they then unfortunately gave up a penalty right on halftime which Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley goaled from a metre his side of the halfway line.
That made it 9-3 to the locals at halftime but, with the Crusaders having made five line breaks to the Brumbies one by that stage, the game still appeared there to be taken.
Carter’s second penalty, with just on 20 minutes to go, offered further promise, by closing the gap to 6-9.
By this time, it was clear that one accurate act, if it produced a try, would claim the game.
Sadly for the Crusaders, they just couldn’t get their act together.
Not only did the Brumbies’ persistence continue to force Crusaders errors in possession, the visitors’ lineout also fell apart under examination from the Australian jumpers, further inhibiting the team’s endeavours to gain momentum.
The repeated errors came back to haunt the Crusaders in the 67th minute when Ben Franks, who had a strong game around the field, was penalised for a clumsy high tackle.
Mortlock drilled the goal to push his side out to 12-6, and the Brumbies then resisted a strong attacking Crusaders surge which ended when the visitors were penalised in possession just metres short of the goal-line.
The Australians then promptly bungled their only real try-scoring opportunity of the night when Mortlock couldn’t pull in a wild pass with the Crusaders’ line beckoning, after Larkham had conspired to open up a gap.
It was the Brumbies defence which had won them the night though, and they kept the Crusaders pinned inside their own territory for much of the final 10 minutes, allowing Larkham to set up for the dropped goal which clinched the game.
Carter’s after the siren penalty miss, while problematic in terms of changing the overall result, was perhaps reflective of the Crusaders’ effort as a whole – they just weren’t quite accurate enough when it mattered in what was effectively a sudden death match for the home side.
Perhaps that reflected the relative desperation of the two sides.
The Crusaders had another life as far as semi-final qualification is concerned, but that is now gone.
They now effectively have three sudden death weeks ahead of them if the Crusaders are to win the competition, and will need to show that they have absorbed the lessons of tonight’s missed opportunities if that goal is ultimately to be realised.
ACT Brumbies 15, Crusaders 6
At Canberra Stadium, April 28
For the ACT Brumbies: Penalty goals by Stirling Mortlock (3) and Julian Huxley. Dropped goal by Stephen Larkham
For the Crusaders: 2 penalty goals by Daniel Carter.
Halftime: ACT Brumbies 9, Crusaders 3


Already last year, Cap suffered!
Deja l'an derniere, notre capitaine prefere avait souffert.


Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd
absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link
back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

Many thanks!

Have a look at my web-site :: workouts to improve vertical Leap

Anonymous said...

I am not sure where you are getting your information, however
great topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more
or understanding more. Thanks for great information I used to be in search of this information for my mission.

Stop by my webpage:

Anonymous said...

I think that is one of the such a lot significant
information for me. And i am happy studying your article.
However wanna observation on few basic things, The web site style is perfect,
the articles is in point of fact great : D. Just right task,

Here is my site: workouts to increase vertical leap

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew
where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Here is my weblog -

Anonymous said...

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all
that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

Feel free to surf to my blog: travel 2 greece

Anonymous said...

Hello! I could have sworn I've been to this website before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new
to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely glad I found it and I'll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

Feel free to surf to my web-site; situsplus.Com

Anonymous said...

Very shortly this web page will be famous among all blogging and
site-building visitors, due to it's nice articles or reviews

My page;