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Carter guides Crusaders past Chiefs
ESPNscrum Staff
May 21, 2011
Schalk Burger celebrates the Stormers' victory, Blues v Stormers, Super Rugby, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, May 20, 2011
Schalk Burger celebrates the Stormers' victory over the Blues after his injury-time try © Getty Images
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Dan Carter led the Crusaders to a 25-19 victory over the Chiefs in only his second game back from injury at McLean Park in Napier on Saturday.

The New Zealand fly-half made his comeback in the Crusaders' shock defeat to the Cheetahs last weekend following almost two months on the sidelines. But he was back to somewhere near his serene best as he landed five penalties, a drop goal and a conversion in addition to some scintillating moments in attack.

Carter's opposite number and potential back-up man in the All Blacks squad, Stephen Donald, kicked two first-half penalties to ensure the Chiefs went into half time level at 6-6 with the hosts. But lock Luke Romano scored a crucial try after the break as he exposed some poor Chiefs' defending to burst through on the 22 and charge to the line.

Carter converted and added another penalty to build a 16-9 lead for the hosts while Donald missed a very kickable penalty from in front of the posts. The Chiefs fly-half did land two further penalties but Carter responded in kind with a penalty and a drop goal. And the All Blacks' No.10 kicked another three-pointer five minutes to seal the win for the Crusaders and close the gap on the Blues at the top of the New Zealand conference despite Liam Messam's late converted try for the Chiefs.

The Bulls kept their hopes of a play-off place alive by surviving a second-half rally from the Sharks to claim a 32-23 win over their South African rivals in Durban. The visitors appeared to be cruising to victory after reaching the interval 23-6 ahead after first-quarter tries from Francois Hougaard and Bakkies Botha, and 13 points from the boot of fly-half Morne Steyn.

They pulled further clear with a penalty from Steyn shortly after the resumption of play but then the Sharks came to life, racking up two tries of their own through Bismarck du Plessis and Adi Jacobs. However, the Bulls held on to claim a vital win.

The Brumbies ended a run of four successive defeats as they battled to a 13-13 draw with the Western Force at the Perth Oval. After Brumbies caretaker coach Tony Rea described the team as "a mob without any fight" in midweek, the Brumbies got the ideal start on the west coast with winger Henry Speight crossing in the third minute and fly-half Matt Giteau landing the conversion.

But the Force hit back with a try through lock Sam Wykes, which was converted by James O'Connor. He and Giteau exchanged penalties to go into the break 10-10. After no score in the opening 30 minutes of the second half, O'Connor kicked another penalty to put the Force ahead with ten minutes remaining. Giteau though kept his composure two minutes later to level the scores and rescue a draw for the Brumbies.

Winger Sosene Anesi scored two tries as the Waratahs cruised past the Lions 29-12 at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday to close the gap on Australian conference leaders the Reds who enjoyed a bye. The one-cap New Zealand international crossed twice in the opening 40 minutes a long with fullback Kurtley Beale, centre Ryan Cross and replacement Tom Kingston as the Waratahs racked up a 29-5 half-time lead. The Lions, who gave former Bath fly-half Butch James a full debut at No.10, scored a solitary try in the first half through Jaco Taute.

The Tahs' momentum subsided in the second period as the Lions fought back. The visitors' improved efforts were rewarded with 11 minutes remaining as replacement Dylan Des Fountain touched down with fellow sub Elton Jantjies converting. But the Lions, who remain bottom of the South African conference with just two wins this season, were still well adrift at the final whistle.

The in-form Cheetahs made it four wins on the bounce with a 41-21 victory over the struggling Rebels in Bloemfontein. The hosts took command of the contest early on, thanks to tries from Corne Uys and Rayno Benjamin. The Rebels hit back through hooker Ged Robinson but opposite number Adriaan Strauss replied in kind to send the Cheetahs in 21-7 ahead at the interval.

Centre Mark Gerrard gave the Rebels some hope when he dived over just before the hour but then Uys and Strauss both claimed their second tries of the game in the space of six minutes. Tempers flared in the closing stages with Benjamin seeing red after clashing with Stirling Mortlock, who picked up a yellow, before the Rebels forced a penalty try in the dying seconds which saw Riaan Viljoen sent to the bin.

The Stormers pulled off a thrilling 28-26 comeback victory over the Blues at Eden Park on Friday to end a run of successive defeats and maintain their place at the top of the South African conference. The Blues were leading 26-21 as the game entered injury time but South Africa flanker Schalk Burger scored a crucial try for the visitors before replacement Dewaldt Duvenhage landed the conversion.

A strong first-half performance from the Blues had seen them build a 19-3 half-time lead with centre Luke McAllister, who has been touted as a possible back-up for Dan Carter in the All Blacks squad, kicking four penalties and converting scrum-half Alby Mathewson's 12th minute try. The Stormers' solitary score in the opening 40 minutes came from the boot of fly-half Lionel Cronje.

Cronje came off in the 25th minute to be replaced by Duvenhage who took over the fly-half's kicking duties and landed a penalty after the break before converting centre Juan de Jongh's 58th minute try as the Stormers fought back into the game. Fellow centre Johan Sadie then crossed a few minutes later to reduce the Blues' lead to just a point. The Blues edged further ahead with 13 minutes remaining as Lachie Munro touched down and McAllister kicked the conversion. But Duvenhage slotted an important penalty before Burger crossed in injury time for the Stormers and Duvenhage held his nerve to seal the win with the decisive conversion.

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