Friday, March 04, 2011

Midfield shine in emotional Crusaders win
Friday March 04, 2011
Source: ONE Sport

The Crusaders dynamic midfield pairing has combined to give the Crusaders an emphatic win over the Waratahs in their Super Rugby match in Nelson.

Powerful centre Robbie Fruean scored a first half brace and Sonny Bill Williams dotted down in the second spell to give the Crusaders a 33-18 win in front of a capacity crowd at Trafalgar Park.
While the Crusaders showed signs of rust after missing last week's match due to Christchurch's deadly earthquake, but their flashes of brilliance proved enough to get them past the previously unbeaten Waratahs.

The Waratahs had been under pressure in the first half, but a try against the run of play from Fruean swung the momentum in the home side's favour and they refused to let up. The Crusaders' support play was exceptional and their talented backline had plenty of chances to express themselves.

Emotions ran high before the match as a minute's silence was observed in memory of the 29 miners killed in the Pike River mining disaster as well as those lost in the recent Christchurch Earthquake. The Crusaders also wore a commemorative jersey emblazoned with the West Coast Rugby Union logo.

It's the Crusaders first win of the season and they will be in Nelson again next week against the Brumbies.

The home side led 26-13 at half-time after a fast paced first half which was riddled with handling errors.
The Waratahs had stunned the crowd in the fifth minute when they capitalised on some sloppy Crusaders play to send Tom Carter over in the corner.

However, Daniel Carter, who kicked seven goals from seven attempts in the match, gave the Crusaders the lead with two penalties shortly after.

But it wasn't for long as Waratahs' halfback Luke Burgess started a blindside move, and backed up to get the ball back and cruise in to score. Kurtley Beale added a penalty shortly after for a 13-6 lead.

Fruean then pulled off an amazing intercept out of nowhere and ran 50 metres to score the Crusaders opening try. He had a second, two minutes later when he linked up with Willliams to score in the corner to take a 10 point lead.

Williams had a sloppy start as he threw a loose pass from his first touch, which Lachie Turner scooped up to put the Waratahs hot on attack. With his next touch Williams threw a wild offload to Carter on the who couldn't gather the balll and posession was turned over on the Crusaders goal-line.

However, he came out much stronger after half-time and had the Crusaders only try in the half after a move he had sparked ended with him charging past two defenders to score.

That left the Waratahs trailing by 20 points and they struggled to pay catch up football as the Crusaders hardly looked threatened.

It gave Todd Blackadder a chance to test his reserves and he used every man in the squad to complete the win.

Tongan born Afa Pakalani ahowed his pace to score the Waratahs third try with eight minutes to play, but it proved to be little more than consolation as they failed to score again to gain a four try bonus.

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