Crusaders storm into Super 12 final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusaders storm into Super 12 final

20/05/2005 07:44:08 PM Comments (0)

The Crusaders set themselves up for a fifth Super 12 rugby title by crushing the hapless Hurricanes 47-7 in Christchurch on Friday night.

While the Crusaders started favourites for the semi-final at Jade Stadium, few would have predicted such a one-sided affair, with the hosts scoring six tries and very nearly keeping a clean sheet in a stunning display of power and efficiency.

The Crusaders, having finished top of the Super 12 table, earn the home final next week and await the result of Saturday's semi-final between NSW Waratahs and the Bulls to discover their opponents.

Victory maintained the Crusaders' remarkable record, having never lost a Super 12 semi-final in seven appearances, and they will chase a fifth title in the 10th and final year of the Super 12.

The Hurricanes were never in the hunt, making silly mistakes from the start of the match and failing to retain possession against marauding opponents who pressured them at every breakdown.

Defending with intensity and scrummaging strongly, the Crusaders clamped control in the opening exchanges.

Flanker Richie McCaw was a relentless menace at the tackle while halfback Justin Marshall was at the heart of the Crusaders' numerous counter-attacks.

The game was effectively sealed on the stroke of halftime when winger Scott Hamilton finished off a brilliant 80m team try - the first of a personal hat-trick - that lifted the hosts to an 18-0 lead.

From the outset they were more dominant than in their 40-20 defeat of the Hurricanes in last weekend's final round-robin clash.

Winger Rico Gear crossed in the third minute for his 15th try of the season, moving him level with the Super 12 record season tally set by ACT Brumbies winger Joe Roff in 1997.

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