Monday, February 08, 2010

Crusaders beat Blues in pre-season match
Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Crusaders beat the Blues 21-12 in a pre-season match in front of a crowd of 8115 at sun-drenched Motueka tonight.

Dan Carter scored 11 points, including a try and three conversions and played the first 55 minutes after sitting out last week’s pre-season loss to the Reds in Brisbane.

The Crusaders led 21-5 at halftime in front of an enthusiastic Sports Park crowd, following tries from Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (also playing their first 2010 match for the Crusaders) and Carter.

The Crusaders took control of the match early against the Blues, who went into the game having won their previous two pre-season games against the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

But the Blues rallied in the second half, scoring a try through wing Rene Ranger and keeping the Crusaders scoreless.

Halfback Ellis (pictured) began the scoring after 10 minutes when scurrying through a gap from 15 metres out and crashing over the line in a tackle. Carter converted.

Joe Rokocoko replied soon after with a try to the Blues wide out on the right after the Crusaders ran out of defenders. Dan Kirkpatrick missed the conversion attempt.

Flanker Read, who joined the match off the bench, added to the Crusaders score when pushed over from close range to make it 14-5 after Carter’s conversion.

Former Crusaders first-five Stephen Brett came off the bench in the second half and set up the Blues’ second try with an inside pass which put wing Rene Ranger under the posts.

Wing Rokocoko looked full of running for the Blues and their lineout performed well in the absence of the injured Ali Williams.

For the Crusaders, Ellis had a strong 40min at halfback and Brad Thorn and Read made big impacts whenever they were on the field.

Colin Slade, who started the game off the bench and moved to first-five when Carter went off, was dangerous with the ball and made several breaks.

Crusaders – Tries: Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Dan Carter. Conversions: Dan Carter (3).
Blues – Tries: Joe Rokocoko, Rene Ranger. Conversion: Stephen Brett
Ht: 21-5

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