March 7, 2010
CRUSADERS 33 BLUES 20
All Blacks five-eighth Daniel Carter won a goalkicking duel with former teammate Stephen Brett to lead the Crusaders to a 33-20 Super 14 win over the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Carter kicked seven goals from seven attempts - three conversions and four penalties - for 18 points to steer the seven-time champions to their third win in four matches.
Brett, in his first match for the Auckland-based side against his former team, kicked four penalties and a dropped goal for 15 points.
The Crusaders scored tries through flanker George Whitelock plus centers Ryan Crotty and Robbie Fruean, while the Blues had a late try to halfback Alby Mathewson.
Crotty's intercept try in the 16th minute of the second half was a game-breaker, giving the Crusaders a 23-15 advantage after they had clung to a one-point lead for more than 20 minutes.
Crotty swooped on an ambitious infield pass from Blues winger Rudi Wulf and dashed under the posts, setting up Carter's second conversion.
A try 10 minutes later to Crotty's midfield partner Fruean sealed the Crusaders' win.
"We were a bit rusty in the first half and we didn't seem to play much rugby," Crusaders and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said.
"It was pretty close at halftime but we felt if we stuck at it the opportunities would come and they did. It wasn't pretty but that's what games like this are all about."
McCaw played his first full match of the season for the Crusaders after missing the first two games and starting from the bench last week.
"It was pretty pleasing just to get out there and it felt good to get a full 80 minutes under the belt," McCaw said.
The Blues pressed hard in an intensely physical match but couldn't break its defensive line until the 76th minute when Mathewson scrambled over.
"In this competition the difference between making mistakes and not making mistakes is the difference between winning and losing," Blues captain Keven Mealamu said.
"You can't expect to come down here against a team like the Crusaders, make as many mistakes as we did and expect to win."
CRUSADERS 33 (Ryan Crotty, Robert Fruean, George Whitelock tries Daniel Carter 3 cons 4 pens) bt BLUES 20 (Alby Mathewson try Stephen Brett 4 pens drop goal) at AMI Stadium. Referee: Keith Brown (NZL).