Crusaders qualify for semis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusaders qualify for semis

01/05/2004 07:38:07 PM Comments (0)

The Crusaders overcame the sending off of No.8 Mose Tuiali'i to beat the Stormers 24-9 in Christchurch and become the first team to book a Super 12 rugby semi-final berth.

In a courageous second-half display at Jade Stadium, the four-time champions shrugged off the red card to Tuiali'i in the 30th minute for an attempted head-butt to go to the top of the table.

Down 8-9 at halftime, the Crusaders scored 16 unanswered points in the second half in a display of disciplined defence and forward control as their opponents' play gradually disintegrated.

The hosts' chances appeared to thin further when they lost two experienced All Blacks backs, centre Aaron Mauger and halfback Justin Marshall, to injury for most of the second half.

However, the Stormers were guilty of ineffectual kicking, helping the Crusaders dominate possession and territory for most of that period.

The star was Crusaders inside centre Daniel Carter, who scored 19 points including a match-clinching individual try under the crossbar with 23 minutes remaining. He also provided the grubber kick that set up Crusaders winger Caleb Ralph for their other try, midway through the first half.

The Stormers remain in fourth place and will book a semi-final berth if they can beat the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

The Crusaders' final match is against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

New Zealand touch judge Paul Honiss had no hesitation recommending that Tuiali'i's action warranted a red card. The No.8 appeared to direct an attempted headbutt at Stormers centre Marius Joubert after a scuffle although it is unclear if he made contact.

The Crusaders were fortunate they weren't reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when prop Greg Somerville was penalised for a blatant punch on Stormers No.8 Adri Badenhorst but faced no further punishment.

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