Monday, March 09, 2009

Super 14 2009. Day 4. Match review
McCaw injured in defeat
March 7, 2009

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw limped out of the Canterbury Crusaders 6-0 Super 14 loss to fellow New Zealand side the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday. McCaw had his leg trapped at a ruck in the 31st minute when Highlanders lock Hayden Triggs was pushed over and fell on the back of the Crusaders' flanker's exposed right knee. The 28-year-old was immediately helped off Carisbrook by medical staff and had ice applied to the joint. No indication of the seriousness of McCaw's injury was immediately available.

The match, which produced the lowest combined score in Super rugby since its inception in 1996, was played between the 22 metre areas with poor passing and decision-making contributing to a high error rate.

The only scoring came in the final 15 minutes when Daniel Bowden's two penalties gave the Highlanders their first win of the season. They lost their first two games by two and five points respectively.
"We came in with a clear mindset and that was to win at all costs," Highlanders captain Jimmy Cowan said in a televised interview. "We didn't care how we got it and we managed to win by 6-0 so we'll take that.
"It has been a long time coming for the boys. They have been working really hard for the last three or four weeks and it is frustrating to see them do all the work and not get the rewards so it is pleasing to get the four points."

On Saturday, neither side was able to capitalise on what few chances they had before Crusaders flyhalf Colin Slade had the first kickable penalty opportunity after 61 minutes.
Slade, however, pulled his 40-metre attempt to the left of the posts to leave the score deadlocked. Otago flyhalf Bowden finally broke the stalemate five minutes later when he slotted his first shot at goal after the Crusaders were penalised at a defensive lineout.

McCaw's replacement George Whitelock was then sinbinned for an infringement at the ruck, which allowed Bowden to double the lead with nine minutes remaining.

The Highlanders held that advantage, despite some late attacks from the Crusaders, until the final whistle when Cowan kicked the ball into touch to the delight of the home crowd.

HIGHLANDERS 6 (Daniel Bowden 2 pens) bt CRUSADERS 0 at Carisbrook Stadium. Referee: Ian Smith (AUS).

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