Crusaders come from behind to beat Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusaders come from behind to beat Reds

By Jim Morton 10/05/2008 10:05:32 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks playmaker Daniel Carter returned from injury to pull the Super 14-leading Crusaders out of jail against the gallant Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

In a pulsating finish, Carter prevented one of the biggest upsets in Super rugby history when he slotted a sideline conversion and then scored a try in dying minutes to hand the Crusaders a 27-21 victory - and, with it, the minor premiership and home semi-final.

The Reds, who had two players sent to the sin-bin in the final 15 minutes, had a chance to complete the boilover in the final minute when they had a second successive penalty on the Crusaders line but a Stephen Moore quick tap ended disastrously.

The Crusaders scored 19 unanswered points after Carter and three fellow All Blacks with a combined total of 97 Test caps came off the bench with 28 minutes left.

When flyhalf Quade Cooper stepped his way over to end 12 phases of concerted pressure, the Reds led 21-8 and were poised for victory.

But coach Robbie Deans steadied a sinking ship by putting on the star-studded replacements of Carter, Ali Williams, Corey Flynn and Andy Ellis.

They hemmed the Reds in their own quarter for the rest of the match but desperate defence by Queensland only broke after Digby Ioane was sin-binned for a spear tackle on Casey Laulala.

Keiren Read crossed from the next play and Carter converted to make it 21-15.

With seven minutes left, halfback Ben Lucas was shown the yellow card for a profession foul near the line and Williams scored out wide soon after.

Carter coolly slotted the wide conversion for the visitors to take the lead at 22-21 and backed up to score a counter-attacking try minutes before fulltime.

The Reds were still given a standing ovation as they left the field, with Berrick Barnes, David Croft and skipper James Horwill standing tallest of all.

"It was hard to swallow but I'm extremely proud of my team. They really battled against it," said Reds coach Phil Mooney.

"The courage was outstanding, everyone had a crack and it was outstanding."

The Reds' defeat was further soured by a worrying shoulder injury to Wallabies fullback Chris Latham.

England-bound Latham may have played his last game for the Reds after coming off in the 12th minute with a suspected pectoral tear.

He sustained the painful injury in failing to stop winger Kade Poki in the left corner as he powered over for scintillating try.

By the time Cooper delivered a superb one-arm off-load for skipper James Horwill to lumber over in the 12th minute, Latham was making his way for the sideline.

He now appears in grave doubt of playing against NSW next Saturday night in what would be his 100th and last Super rugby match for the Reds.

The Reds shot out to a 14-5 lead when in-form winger Peter Hynes finished a fine team try.

Retiring flanker David Croft made a break from within his quarter and from the next phase Morgan Turinui bounced a pass to Hynes, who swerved past Poki and then ran over fellow winger Sean Maitland.

A Stephen Brett penalty goal reduced the halftime deficit to six points before the Crusaders showed their class to eventually haul in the Reds.

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