Crusaders count cost after downing Highlanders
February 12, 2011
Waratahs full-back Kurtley Beale is felled by the Western Force defence © Getty Images
The Crusaders outclassed the Highlanders 40-21 in their Super Rugby trial on Friday night but victory came at the cost of a hamstring injury to flying wing Zac Guildford.
Todd Blackadder confirmed after the match Guildford could be out for a few weeks after pulling up lame in a run, meaning he will miss the start of the inaugural Super Rugby season.
It was otherwise a night full of positives for the Crusaders as All Blacks Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Brad Thorn came through unscathed in a strong team performance. Guildford scored before he was replaced along with Whitelock brothers George and Adam, Robbie Fruean, Read and Matt Todd. James Paterson, Robbie Robinson and Ben Smith crossed for the Highlanders at the Oamaru match.
Elsewhere on Friday, the Chiefs and the Blues played out a 12-12 draw in Pukekohe. After a rare scoreless first half the Chiefs opened up a deserved lead through tries for Stephen Donald and Scott Waldrom but the Blues pulled level as Joe Rokocoko and Mat Luamanu crossed late.
In South Africa, a second-string Lions outfit defeated the Southern Kings 30-24.
The NSW Waratahs recorded a morale-boosting 38-22 victory over Western Force in their final hit-out before the Super Rugby season in regional Nowra on Thursday night.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau spearheaded an impressive showing from the Waratahs pack and he scored his side's first try in response to Nick Cummins' runaway opener for the Force.
Try-machine Drew Mitchell grabbed a double and Tom Carter, Wycliff Palu and Greg Peterson also crossed for the hosts, while the James O'Connor-led Force will at least be pleased with their offensive potential after Cameron Shepherd, Keiran Stringer and Rory Sidey, although the latter two of those tries came after the Waratahs had benched most of their starting side in a very assured performance.
Elsewhere, the Brumbies and Hurricanes gave an indication with how tight the Super Rugby season could be as they played out a 21-21 draw at Canberra's Viking Park.
Julian Savea crossed for a converted try after the final siren to bring scores level after the Brumbies had lead 21-7 at one stage. Mitchell Chapman, Ita Vaea, Stephen Moore all had tries converted by Matt Giteau, leading the side for the first time.
All Blacks Victor Vito and Ma'a Nonu were the other try-scorers for the visitors, while Aaron Cruden landed three conversions including the crucial leveler at the death.
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