Flyhalf Colin Slade kicked 23 points as the Canterbury Crusaders crushed the Australian conference-leading ACT Brumbies 40-20 in Christchurch, New Zealand, yesterday to storm into Super rugby playoff contention.
The seven-time champions had tries from wingers Johnny McNicholl and Nemani Nadolo and a late effort from loose forward Luke Whitelock, but Slade’s punishment of an unusually ill-disciplined performance from the Brumbies was a big factor in the home side’s dominance.
The Crusaders welcomed back flanker Richie McCaw after a long injury lay-off and he played the full 80 minutes after openside Matt Todd was among three Crusaders forced off the pitch by injury in the first 18 minutes.
The Brumbies, runners-up last year, scored tries at the start and end of the second half through hooker Stephen Moore and replacement back Pat McCabe, but will rue some sloppy execution and tackling throughout the match.
AP, HAMILTON, New Zealand,
The Chiefs scored three tries in a six-minute spell on either side of halftime to secure a bonus point from a 38-8 win over South Africa’s Lions in Super rugby yesterday, breathing new life into their title defense.
Center Charlie Ngatai, returning from injury, created one try and scored another in a pivotal three-minute period leading into the break, then prop Paulasi Manu scored three minutes after the resumption to seal a bonus point and the win.
Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe scored the first of the Chiefs’ tries, while center Bundee Aki and fullback Tim Nanai-Williams scored the fifth and sixth against tiring opposition in the last eight minutes as the two-time defending Super rugby champions roused themselves from a mid-season form slump.
In the day’s other game, much-traveled winger Matt Carraro scored his first try in Super Rugby to break a 24-24 halftime deadlock and put the New South Wales Waratahs on the path to a 39-30 win over the Wellington-based Hurricanes.