Brothers George and Luke Whitelock shared four tries and expectant father Dan Carter kicked 16 points as the Crusaders trounced the Southern Kings 55-20 in Super Rugby yesterday.
Flanker George Whitelock scored three tries, two in the first half and a third, five minutes from fulltime, to carry the Crusaders beyond 50 points.
Luke, the youngest of the four Whitehead brothers who play for the Christchurch-based Crusaders, took the field as a second-half replacement and scored his first Super Rugby try.
Carter kicked five conversions and two penalties in his last match before he takes a break to await the birth of his first child.
The All Blacks flyhalf will miss the Crusaders’ matches in South Africa against the Stormers and Sharks, and possibly in Perth against the Western Force while on baby watch. He kept a perfect kicking record yesterday, as did all four goal kickers used by both teams.
Carter’s replacement, Tyler Bleyendaal, converted their last two tries, while Demetri Catrakilis kicked a conversion and two penalties for the Kings and George Whitehead converted his own, 78th-minute try.
The Crusaders banked a four-try before halftime, scoring tries through Whitehead, prop Wyatt Crockett and scrumhalf Willi Heinz to lead 31-13 at the break.
However, after expanding their lead to 48-13 with tries to Matt Todd and Luke Whitelock, they were contained by the Kings’ defense, until George Whitelock scored their seventh and last try near fulltime.
“It was a great first half,” Crusaders captain Keiran Read said. “I think that’s the challenge. You’ve got to come out and really hit it well early on. Accurately tonight, we were outstanding early on so we’re pleased with that. Against the South African sides you’ve got to really step up in the set pieces and our boys did that.”
REDS VERSUS BULLS
AP, BRISBANE, Australia
Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper scored a try among his 18 points to lead the Queensland Reds to 23-18 win over South Africa’s Bulls in Super 15 rugby yesterday.
The Reds led 13-6 at halftime before some anxious moments in the second half.
The Bulls looked to have sealed the match when Bjorn Basson crashed over after the siren, only for video replays to show Chris Feauai-Sautia’s tackle had forced the winger to put a stray foot into touch.
Wallabies skipper James Horwill returned to the lineup after a near year-long wait on the sidelines with hamstring and ankle problems.
In Perth yesterday, the Cheetahs of South Africa beat the Western Force 19-12 to spoil the Australian side’s first home match.
HONG KONG SEVENS
AP, HONG KONG
Portugal and Kenya will play each other in a surprising quarter-final at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby, while New Zealand and Fiji were the only teams yesterday to win all three group matches in the sixth leg of the IRB world series.
Portugal topped their group by beating Samoa 14-10 and downing Scotland 27-21 on Friday, while Kenya added a 19-17 win over France to go with its 17-14 victory over the US the previous day.
Canada meets Wales in another cup quarter-final, meaning the winner will play Portugal or Kenya to reach the final in what is the easier half of the draw.
Series-leading New Zealand play Samoa and defending champion Fiji take on Australia in the quarter-finals.
South Africa and England were relegated to the lesser bowl competition.