The Canterbury Crusaders continued their mid-season revival as they defeated the Northern Bulls 16-13 on Friday.
The Crusaders played expansive rugby from the kick off, but 10-0 up with 10 minutes to go to halftime, the Crusaders switched to the probing, kicking game usually favored by the Bulls.
As a consequence the Bulls were rewarded with two tries, both to winger Akona Ndungane, and the Crusaders were saved by the boot of Brett who contributed 11 points.
The Crusaders went 7-0 up in the fourth minute when the Bulls hung off a Leon MacDonald kick allowing the fast following Colin Slade to claim possession and send Isaac Ross over.
A Brett penalty increased the lead to 10-0 and the Crusaders were on the cusp of getting a second try when MacDonald lost the ball diving for the line, allowing the Bulls to clear down field and they were rewarded when Brett’s defensive kick went into touch on the full.
From the subsequent line-out, Wynand Olivier snapped through Tim Bateman’s tackle and sent Ndungane over in the corner.
Brett reeled off a drop goal soon after halftime to lengthen the Crusaders’ lead to 13-5, before the Bulls struck back with Ndungane’s second try.
Morne Steyn found the posts for the first time in the 60th minute with an equalizing penalty.
But it was a short-lived advantage as Brett struck back 3 and the Crusaders ground out the final 15 minutes to take the win.