Crusaders down Brumbies in Canberra
May 5, 2013
Dan Carter was back to his best to steer the Crusaders to victory in Canberra to keep their 2013 season alive
© Getty Images
The Crusaders have found form of old against a lacklustre Brumbies team who slumped to their first home loss of the Super Rugby season in Canberra.
The New Zealand heavyweights slowly ground their opponents down to record a 30-23 victory in front of 16,544 spectators at Canberra Stadium, with their defence simply too strong and well prepared for the Brumbies wide gameplan.
The Brumbies failed to build momentum throughout the match, with poor handling, disrupted lineouts and scrum penalties being the main culprits.
The Crusaders encountered their own problems at the lineout, but still managed to dominate territory on the back of five-eighth Dan Carter's boot.
The ever-solid Carter had an unblemished night in front of the posts, nailing three penalties and three conversions.
Flanker George Smith was a shining light for the home side in his record 137th Super Rugby game for the Brumbies, stealing balls in the ruck in his trademark fashion and making dozens of tackles in defence.
Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua got the early wood over Carter, intercepting his opposite's cut out pass near his tryline and running 85 metres to open the scoring in the seventh minute.
The two sides traded penalties before Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis scored in the 21st minute to level the scores 10-10.
The scoreline remained unchanged until the 59th minute when Crusaders winger Zac Guildford found himself on the end of an overlap and dived over in the corner.
A fresh-off-the-bench Israel Dagg then scored in the 73rd minute to secure the match for the visitors.
A late try to Ben Mowen and then a penalty to Christian Lealiifano was enough to salvage a late bonus point for the Brumbies, but it proved too little too late for a win.
Despite the loss, the Brumbies remain on top of the Super Rugby table, one point ahead of the Chiefs and two points ahead of nearest conference rivals - Queensland Reds.
Dan Carter returned with a perfect kicking display and some deft touches (video available in Australia only)
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker