Flyhalf Dan Carter scored 19 points to help the Canterbury Crusaders beat the Stormers 29-10 in their Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.
Carter’s two conversions and five penalties helped the Crusaders book a place in the final to set up a mouthwatering clash with Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
The Crusaders, chasing their eighth Super Rugby title, were full value for the win after scoring two tries against one for last year’s beaten finalists.
The Crusaders scored the first two tries through wing Sean Maitland and outside center Robbie Fruean, while Springbok wing Bryan Habana crossed for the hosts late in the first half.
Carter proved to be the difference between the teams and the 29-year-old missed just two attempts at goal as the Crusaders made light of the 11,000km they had to travel at the beginning of the week to contest the semi-final.
The Crusaders achievement in reaching the final was all the more remarkable because they did not play a single home match during the season after February’s earthquake in Canterbury rendered their stadium unplayable.
“We made the decision to stand up for the people at home and now we have given ourselves a chance by making the final,” Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw said. “I’m really proud of the guys who haven’t used travel as an excuse the whole season.”
The Crusaders had been the last team to win a playoff outside their home country when they triumphed in the 2000 final against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The hosts opened the scoring in front of a crowd of just more than 48,000 after seven minutes with a penalty by flyhalf Peter Grant, but the Crusaders took advantage of an error-ridden Stormers’ performance to roar into a 23-3 lead after 35 minutes.
Carter leveled the scores with his first penalty, before Maitland intercepted a loose pass from Stormers eighth man Nick Koster and galloped 50m to score the opening try.
Carter then nailed two long-range penalties and Crusaders asserted their dominance when inside center Sonny Bill Williams slipped through a half-gap before offloading to center partner Fruean, who dotted down alongside the posts for a converted try.
The Stormers, despite winning the territorial battle, were struggling to assert themselves in the face of some superbly aggressive defense from the visiting forwards, who constantly stopped their attacks behind the advantage line.
However, Habana finally gave the home fans something to cheer about when he dived over from close-range after taking a quick tap-penalty 5m from the visitors’ try line.
Grant succeeded with the conversion as the Stormers, who have never won a Super Rugby title, went to the break trailing 23-10.
The home side were far more competitive in the second half as they battled to break down the Crusaders defense.
Their best chance came in the 54th minute when only a diving tackle from wing Zac Guilford prevented center Jaque Fourie from scoring in the corner.
“We were outclassed by a better team in all facets of the game,” Stormers stand-in captain Jean de Villiers said.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being