Crusaders produce heroic win
March 30, 2013
Zac Guildford celebrates the Crusaders' gutsy win over the Stormers
© Getty Images
Defensive class saw the Crusaders prevail over the Stormers at Newlands as they claimed a 19-14 win in a match that tested the very depth of New Zealand side's resources.
Already without All Blacks Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Keiran Read, the Crusaders lost the cornerstone of their pack, prop Owen Franks, 15 minutes into the game.
In a game in which the sides scored a try apiece, through flanker Matt Todd for the Crusaders and flanker Siya Kolisi for the Stormers, it was the goal-kicking boot of Carter's stand-in Tyler Bleyendaal that made the difference as he landed a conversion and four penalty goals.
Bleyendaal also led his team well around the field, showing deft touches in his his tactical play and the young fly-half was rewarded for his efforts by winning the Man of the Match award.
The home team got out to an 11-0 lead despite lineout problems, while the Crusaders burst back in the 22nd minute when Matt Todd crossed for their try.
By continuing to lay siege in the Stormers' half, the Crusaders forced errors and Bleyendaal was able to land two penalty goals to ensure a 13-11 lead at the break.
Despite a long time spent in the Stormers half, they were unable to bridge the defences of the home side, one period of play featuring 26 phases.
The situation was eased in the 55th minute when No.8 Duane Vermeulen was sin-binned for a reckless tackle on wing Zac Guildford.
However, the Stormers broke the stranglehold and had their own time in attack during a hectic last 10 minutes which saw the Crusaders pull off an enormous defensive effort to hold their line.
The game ended with a try-saving tackle being made in the corner among a group of players determined to hold out for the win.
Central to the Crusaders' success was their inability to attack the Stormers lineout. They had been wary of the influence of giant lock Andries Bekker, but he was eliminated as a threat as the home team had a horror night in that phase.
Even the ploy of throwing long came unstuck for the Stormers, as lock Sam Whitelock produced a fine display to demonstrate his growing worth and experience in lineout control.
The Crusaders defeated the Stormers with resolute defence (video available only in Australia)
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup