Saturday, March 28, 2009

The 2009 Crusade ambles on

The Crusaders have recorded back-to-back wins, beating the Stormers 11-7 in an unconvincing showing in the seventh week of the Rebel Sport Super 14.
While the win has kept alive their flagging campaign, it was anything but convincing from the Todd Blackadder-coached side.

Again the Crusaders were hindered by the worst goal-kicking showing in the Super 14.
And while they showed ticker in holding out the Stormers in the second half, the Crusaders really didn't show anything on attack to have pending opposition quaking in their boots.

The Stormers made a great start, with controversial Springbok loose forward Luke Watson crossing through some flimsy defence in the 11th minute. Williem de Waal converted.
The Stormers showed impressive continuity, forcing the Crusaders into a hefty amount of defence in the opening 15 minutes.

They were also aided by some strong work by their loosies, with the Crusaders again clearly missing the impact of Richie McCaw, who was water-boy for the night.
The Crusaders had the chance to exert some pressure from a strong attacking scrum in the 16th minute, but a forward pass from the resulting attack provided a timely turnover.

Stephen Brett managed to get the Crusaders on the board with a penalty in the 25th minute.
They should have added to the points tally in the 31st with Brett sparking an attack. But their charge to the try-line was cut short when Andy Ellis bombed a pass from Kieran Read.

But it was a short reprieve for the Stormers, with the defending champions crossing just two minutes later through Adam Whitelock, following a nicely worked scrum move. Brett failed to convert.
de Waal had the chance to regain the lead four minutes into the second half, but pushed a penalty attempt wide.

The Crusaders had a golden attacking chance 10 minutes into the second half when they counter-attacked, getting to within 5m of the Stormers' try-line.
They eventually forced a 5m scrum, but the Stormers were able to clear.

Nasi Manu was then denied a try after going into touch just short of the Stormers' try-line.
The Stormers then showed their power of counter-attack, with flanker Duane Vermeulen unleashing a scintillating burst up-field. However, the attack was finally ended by a handling error.

Brett had a chance to extend the lead again in the 72nd minute when he botched a penalty attempt, continuing the Crusaders' woeful '09 kicking form.
He finally got it right in the 75th minute, in the process scoring the first points of the second half.
CRUSADERS 11 (A Whitelock try; S Brett 2 pen), STORMERS 7 (L Watson try; W de Waal con). HT: 8-7.


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