Crusaders suffer first loss
Sunday, April 30, 2006 Sportal.co.nz Photosport
Things looked difficult for the Crusaders,
who drew their earlier match on tour with the Western Force 23-23, after only 46 seconds when centre De Wet Barry intercepted a poor pass from Cruaders hooker Corey Flynn to score under the posts.
First five-eighths Peter Grant landed the conversion and the Crusaders were 0-7 down.
Crusaders first five-eighths Cameron MacIntyre responded to a high tackle ruled against No.8 Joe van Niekerk by landing a penalty goal to open the scoring for the visitors. Two Grant penalty goals soon extended the lead to 10 points however.
Despite mounting a vigorous assault on the Stormers line for 10 minutes before halftime, there was no way through for the Crusaders, who were playing without first five-eighths Dan Carter, flanker Richie McCaw and fullback Leon MacDonald.
It was the Stormers who went on the attack in the second half and it was Grant who capitalised on an opening to score and take the home team out to an 18-3 lead.
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans immediately introduced Carter from the bench. However, the Stormers had their blood running and when Barry made a break, another try went begging only when wing Marius Joubert lost the ball five metres from the line.
Despite some mounting Crusaders pressure, another Grant penalty goal extended the lead to 21-3.
Finally, with only 12 minutes left, the Crusaders scored through flanker Johnny Leo'o, when he was driven over the line by his pack. Carter added the conversion.
But the issue was made safe for the home team when Grant, who had an outstanding game, put prop Eddie Andrews in for a try.
Right on fulltime, wing Rico Gear scored and Carter converted but the champions were left point less from the match and now facing the prospect of not securing the right to stage the home final.
Scorers: Stormers 28 (Du Wet Barry, Peter Grant, Eddie Andrews tries; Grant 2 con, 3 pen) Crusaders 17 (Johnny Leo'o, Rico Gear tries; Dan Carter 2 con; Cameron McIntyre pen). HT: 13-3
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