Bonus point Crusaders beat Hurricanes to stay alive

The Crusaders kept their hopes of reaching the 2015 Super Rugby play-offs alive by beating the Hurricanes 35-18 in Nelson on Friday.

The Crusaders outscored the Hurricanes by four tries to two in the contest which is the Hurricanes second defeat of the season.

The Crusaders started the match with Dan Carter at 10 but without Colin Slade, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg and delivered one of their best performances against the tournament’s form side.

The Hurricanes needed just three points to ensure that they finished the season on top of the Super Rugby standings but they will take nothing from this contest.

While the seven-time champion Crusaders became just the second team to beat the Hurricanes they still risk missing the finals for the first time since 2001.

Inspired in attack by winger Nemani Nadolo, the Crusaders scored four tries to two, displaying the renowned dominance that has been missing for much of the season.

“Coming up against the top team, who’ve set the pace all year we wanted to dig deep,” captain Richie McCaw said.

The bonus-point victory still leaves the Crusaders needing to win their last two matches and have other results go their way to make the play-offs.

The Hurricanes have already qualified for the finals, perhaps accounting for a lacklustre display that captain Conrad Smith said was a wake-up call.

“It was disappointing, we didn’t turn up tonight,” he said. They were hungrier than us and that’s not good enough.”

It was a downbeat way for the Hurricanes to mark All Black centre Ma’a Nonu’s 123rd cap for the team, overtaking the record for most games set by former midfield great Tana Umaga.

The Hurricanes piled on the pressure early but a desperate tackle from Dan Carter stopped Julian Savea just short of the tryline.

Carter, playing in his preferred fly-half position, then gave the Crusaders the edge with three quick penalties.

They extended the lead with a try to scrum-half Mitchell Drummond after a barnstorming run from winger Nemani Nadolo.

But a red card to Robbie Fruean halted their momentum, with the Hurricanes immediately hitting back with a try to Dane Coles to cut the gap to 16-8 at the break.

Ardie Savea took just 30 seconds after the restart to give the Hurricanes another try when he took off down the right wing.

The Crusaders then seized control of the match with tries to Nafi Tuitavake and Matt Todd, the second set up with a one-handed offload from Nadolo.

After setting up two tries, Nadolo then scored one for himself, gathering a cross-field chip from Carter then brushing off Nonu before crossing the line.

Next week the Crusaders play the Blues in Auckland and then finish the regular season with a match in Canberra against the Brumbies.

The Hurricanes host the Highlanders in Wellington next week and they finish the regular season with a match in New Plymouth against the Chiefs.

Final Score Crusaders 35 (16) Hurricanes 18 (8)


Tries – M.Drummond, N. Tuitavake, M.Todd, N.Nadolo
Pen – D.Carter 3
Con – D.Carter 3
Drop – 
Cards -R.Fruean (30th min yellow)

Tries – D.Coles, A Savea
Pen – O.Black 2
Con – O.Black
Drop – 
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1:Kane McBride
Assistant Ref 2:Richard Kelly
TMO : Chris Wratt



1. Alex Hodgman ,2 .Ben Funnell , 3.Owen Franks , 4.Luke Romano , 5.Jimmy Tupou , 6.Matt Todd , 7.Richie McCaw (c) , 8.Jordan Taufua, 9.Mitchell Drummond 10.Dan Carter , 11.Nemani Nadolo , 12. David Havili , 13.Robbie Fruean ,14 .Nafi Tuitavake , 15 , Tom Taylor

Replacements : 16.Codie Taylor ,17.Tim Perry ,18.Nepo Laulala , 19. Dominic Bird, 20 .Luke Whitelock , 21.Andy Ellis , 22.Kieron Fonotia , 23. Jone Macilai


1. Reggie Goodes, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. James Broadhurst, 6. Brad Shields, 7. Ardie Savea, 8. Blade Thomson, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Otere Black, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma’a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith, 14.Nehe Milner-Skudder, 15.James Marshall

Replacements :16. Motu Matu’u,17. Ben May,18. Ben Franks,19. Mark Abbott,20. Victor Vito,21. Chris Smylie,22. Rey Lee-Lo,23. Matt Proctor

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