Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Desperate defence dominates match

As Richie McCaw fixed his gaze on the tryline and used his 106kg as a battering ram, a five-pointer appeared certain.

Instead, Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh somehow got under the Crusaders captain, prevented him from grassing the ball, and forced a 22m restart.

McCaw knew television match official Garratt Williamson was not going to award a try.

"I knew I hadn't got it. They did quite well and I came up a bit short and rolled over on my back," McCaw admitted. "And I tried to roll again and Phil did a pretty good job in ripping it out.
"I thought I may have got there but I didn't. He did well. It was a pretty good two-man tackle and I was pretty disappointed about it, to be honest."

That movement from Waugh summed up the defensive desire from both sides, and it took Kahn Fotuali'i's try with two minutes remaining to seal the Crusaders' 20-13 win in a pulsating match.
The home side survived 27 consecutive phases before Rob Horne scored in the 52nd minute from a deft Daniel Halangahu grubber.

This season, referee Craig Joubert has earned a reputation for being one of the toughest adjudicators at the breakdown and, in the first half, he dished out penalties with an almost sadistic relish.

McCaw acknowledged his interpretation at the breakdowns was different to what the Crusaders have experienced this season, noting the first person to arrive at the breakdown was given more leeway than what they were used to.

"But I thought he was consistent enough for both sides. The Waratahs were quite smart in how they left the first breakdown alone and went for the second one. And, when we had only one number or a number short, they made us pay, but I thought we reacted well in the second half."

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