Sun, Apr 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Crusaders defeat Blues, lose McCaw after concussion

Reuters

The Canterbury Crusaders snapped a two-match losing streak to beat the Auckland Blues 29-15 yesterday, giving some hope to their faltering Super Rugby campaign.

The Crusaders chalked up their fifth win in 10 matches this season and earned a vital bonus point for scoring four tries to move into the top half of the table despite playing the last quarter of the match without Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks captain was taken from the field for a concussion test after a heavy head knock while tackling Auckland fullback Lolagi Visinia.

The 33-year-old McCaw has struggled to produce his best this season, triggering concerns in rugby-mad New Zealand about his place in the World Cup team.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has dismissed suggestions McCaw is losing his edge, but his every move is being scrutinized with the World Cup to start in less than five months.

The Crusaders were already safely ahead of the Blues when McCaw left the field in Christchurch.

The seven-times Super champions raced to a 14-0 lead after scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond scored in the first minute then loose forward Jordan Taufua went over in the 16th.

The Blues, second-to-last in the standings with just one victory all season, cut the deficit to 17-10 at halftime when Francis Saili scored.

However, the Crusaders regained control in the second half when Tom Taylor scored two minutes after the restart.

Codie Taylor secured a bonus point with a fourth touchdown soon afterward.

“We definitely had to show a better performance out there,” Crusaders skipper Kieran Read said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly a step up from the last two weeks.”

In Sydney, the New South Wales Waratahs held on to beat the Melbourne Rebels 18-16, setting up a blockbuster clash with the ACT Brumbies next week.

The defending Super rugby champions have still not found their best form this year, but are growing in confidence the longer the season goes.

Michael Hooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rob Horne all scored tries for the Waratahs on a wet and windy night.

The Rebels were always behind, but gave themselves a chance of snatching victory at the death when replacement Bryce Hegarty finished off a long-range try in the corner.

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