Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Crusaders survive Sharks; Reds outlast Sunwolves

AFP, BRISBANE, Australia

Defending Super Rugby champions the Crusaders yesterday maintained their nearly three-year undefeated streak at home by snatching an upset 21-21 draw with Sharks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In the following match, the Queensland Reds had some anxious moments against the embattled Sunwolves before capitalizing on the ill discipline of their opponents to win 32-26.

The Crusaders scored three tries to nil, but Sharks’ super-boot Curwin Bosch sent over seven penalties to give the South African side hope against the defending champions.

“It showed character for the boys to be in there and build phases, but at the same time we made a lot of mistakes,” Crusaders back Mitch Hunt said.

The Sharks nabbed the first points with a Bosch penalty, but the hosts soon responded through a Codie Taylor converted try.

The Sharks continued to notch up the points through another two penalties, putting them up 9-7 at halftime.

Bosch’s accuracy with the boot continued to pay dividends, extending the lead to 12-7 soon after the restart.

However, Jack Goodhue powered through some fierce defending to narrow the gap to 15-14.

Bosch continued to kick three-pointers, but the Crusaders staged a late rally, with Hunt’s late converted try a fortunate leveler for the Crusaders.

The resurgent Reds were expected to easily account for the bottom-placed Sunwolves in Brisbane, but the Japanese team was keen to atone for an embarrassing 52-0 loss to the Highlanders in their previous outing.

The Sunwolves led 13-8 at halftime and might well have caused an upset against a wasteful Reds side, but their poor discipline cost them dearly and they were at least a man down for more than half the game.

The visitors had two players sin-binned in the first half and another three in the second, playing a large chunk of the final 10 minutes with just 12 men.

In the 50th minute, the Sunwolves, who were still leading, found themselves a man down for the remainder of the match after Semisi Masirewa was shown a red card.

Masirewa had earned a yellow card late in the first half and received a second one for a high tackle, ending his match and leaving the gallant Sunwolves shorthanded.

The Reds immediately capitalized with a high kick across the field by Bryce Hegarty, who found winger Sefa Naivalu all alone for an easy try as the hosts took a 25-16 lead.

Against all odds, the Sunwolves regained the lead in the 67th minute through a second Gerhard van den Heever try.

However, Yu Tamara was sent off in the 70th minute and then Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco was also shown a yellow card in the 76th minute, effectively ending their hopes of an upset.

Reds captain Samu Kerevi praised the Sunwolves, but was unimpressed with his own team’s performance, despite notching their fifth win.

“To be honest, that’s not how we wanted to play it out,” he said. “Pretty disappointed with how we performed.”

“I thought we could have taken more opportunities, we need to be better,” he added.

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