Crusaders sink 14-man Highlanders
Sat, 29 Jun 2013 09:21
The Highlanders' discipline cost them
The Crusaders kept their composure to record a 40-12 bonus-point victory over a 14-man Highlanders team in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Highlanders had nothing to lose and it showed as they displayed a willingness to run the ball and take the game to the visitors, but fell away badly in the second half.
However, despite their enthusiasm the Highlanders' discipline cost them as Jarrad Hoeata and Ma'a Nonu both spent time in the sin bin.
The Crusaders opened the scoring through a Dan Carter penalty, but the Highlanders hit back soon afterwards with a great try from Ben Smith.
After taking the ball right up to the line, they sent it out to Tamati Ellison who spun in the tackle and flicked an amazing pass out the back of his hand to Smith who raced over.
The home side were struck a blow when flank Hoeata was shown a yellow card for his attack on Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis at a scrum.
Despite camping in the Highlanders' 22 the Crusaders battled to make it count, but the pressure eventually told when Carter made a decisive break to set up captain George Whitelock for the try.
A Carter penalty after the half-time siren saw the visitors take a 13-7 lead into the break, and they almost stretched it further when Zac Guildford charged the ball down at the start of the second half, but Colin Slade won the race to the ball.
They did not have to wait long however, as a break from Tom Marshall in the 22 saw Andy Ellis go over for their second try.
The Highlanders refused to give in and fought back hard, with Hosea Gear eventually diving over in the corner for a trademark try in his 100th match.
However, their hopes of getting back in front were struck a blow when a tip tackle saw Nonu shown the first red card in Super Rugby this year.
The resulting penalty from Carter gave the Crusaders a 23-12 lead over the 14-man Highlanders who had it all to do in the final 20 minutes.
The teams were down to even numbers shortly afterwards when Crusaders hooker Corey Flynn was shown a yellow card for a high tackle, but despite this they were still the next to score when Carter slotted another penalty aftter an extended period of pressure from the Highlanders.
With the Highlanders fading in the late stages Carter took advantage by carving the defence open with a swerving run to score the Crusaders' third try.
That left them 10 minutes to find the bonus point try, and it came with the last movement of the match. A quick line-out on their own tryline was spun out to Telusa Veianu who turned on the pace to outstrip the defence and go over for the crucial fourth try.
Man of the match: Ben Smith showed a few flashes of brilliance, but the man running the show was Dan Carter who delivered another masterclass.
For the Highlanders:
Tries: Ben Smith, Gear
For the Crusaders:
Tries: George Whitelock, Ellis, Carter, Veianu
Cons: Carter 4
Pens: Carter 3
Yellow cards: Jarrad Hoeata (18 mins, foul play), Corey Flynn (60 mins, dangerous tackle)
Red card: Ma'a Nonu (58 mins, dangerous tackle)
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Ma'a Nonu.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand). Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)
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