Crusaders beat Highlanders in desperate derby
April 20, 2013
The southern derby featured desperate defence from both sides
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The Crusaders have consigned the Highlanders to their eighth loss of the season with victory in the southern derby at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, the win built on the foundation of overwhelming dominance in the lineout.
Crusaders second-rowers Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano pulled down four Highlanders lineouts, and the hosts ensured their opponents' ball from the set-piece was mostly untidy as they dominated possession and territory throughout, but the desperate visitors showed remarkable resilience in defence to keep the seven-time champions at bay.
The Crusaders scored two tries as they ended a two-game losing streak, one late in each half, through Robbie Fruean and Tom Taylor, but they were denied three more by the quality of the visitors' defence that saw the Television Match Official called into action to deny Corey Flynn, Zac Guildford and Matt Todd.
The quality of that defence was best illustrated by a remarkable effort from Ben Smith midway through the second half, the fullback first hauling down runaway Andy Ellis before getting to his feet to stop Flynn.
The winless Highlanders, with no less than six key personnel missing, produced great passion in their outstanding defensive effort, and they even harboured hopes of a comeback with the elements at their back in the second half when Jason Emery scored a try from a wonderful cut-out pass from Aaron Smith. But they lacked the firepower necessary to trouble their hosts, their absence of strike illustrated when they failed to trouble the Crusaders when the hosts were reduced to 14 men in the first half after prop Owen Franks was sin-binned for punching Jarrad Hoeata.
The Crusaders dominated the Highlanders throughout the match in Christchurch (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand