The Queensland Reds have won the 2011 Super Rugby tournament. A valiant Crusaders team seemed to just not have enough gas in the tank after a grueling season where they did more than a 100 000 miles of travelling. They lost 18 – 15 to the team from Australia in the Super Rugby final in Brisbane on Saturday.
Will Genia scored the last of two Reds’ tries in the 69th minute and that seemed to be enough. The other try was scored by Digby Ioane.
For the Crusaders Daniel Carter scored a try, a conversion and two penalties.
The Crusaders will face the Cape Town side at Newlands on the 2nd July 2011.
Crusaders 36 – Try: Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Read, Ben Franks; Conversions: Dan Carter (2), Mathew Berquist; Penalties: Carter (5)
For Sharks fans everywhere the presence and well-being of at least one Frenchman is of paramount importance this coming weekend. While Dominic Strauss-Kahn’s parole restrictions and Nicolas Sarkozy’s impending fatherhood drew a fair amount of attention, Frederick Michelac is the focus here – the man who almost single-handedly turned the Bulls on their heels and Loftus Versveld on its head.
The former French international’s contribution to the crushing of every blue-blooded, horn head’s ticker was epic to witness, as was the faces of utter relief seen on the mugs of the hundreds of Durbanites who made the trip up north. Michelac commanded and received the respect of the every, single Bulls player on the park. Not through brute force (as is often the case in titanic Loftus battles) but through sheer brilliance and self-belief. Not once did the pivot, selected ahead of golden boy Patrick “Lamborghini” Lambie, look out of place or set a foot wrong. He distributed well, organized defence without much trouble and led the attack of the three-quarters effortlessly.
Two tries from the flying Zac Guildford in the second half, one at the beginning and one near the end, sealed the win for the Men from Canterbury in what was the Blues’ fourth consecutive defeat.
The Blues were desperate to win and it showed, they did enjoy long spells of possession and were right in the game until the last ten minutes after a spirited effort in the second half.
The game was in the balance for much of the match as both heavyweights traded blows. The Crusaders scrum was at its impressive best while the Blues competed well at line-out time despite missing a few on their own throw.
Sean Maitland scored four tries as the seven-time champions the Crusaders buried the ACT Brumbies 52 – 10 in their Super Rugby clash in Nelson on Friday.
The match was the second “home game” for the Crusaders at Trafalgar Park following a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22 that ripped the heart out of Christchurch, killing at least 166 people and levelling much of the centre of the country’s second-largest city.
It was the second successive loss for the Brumbies after their coach Andy Friend was sacked early last week. They had also lost the match prior to his dismissal.
Winger Maitland, who had scored one try in the first half, added two more in a devastating 10-minute period to start the second half when the Crusaders extended their 19-10 lead at the break to 40-10.
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams also added his second Super rugby try, in virtually the same place where he scored his first last week, before Maitland added his fourth.
Flyhalf Daniel Carter slotted four penalties and a conversion in the first half then three conversions in the second before being replaced with about 20 minutes remaining.
The Wallaby coach Robbie Deans reckons the Bulls made a mistake by resting their top players last week.
That is one of the reasons why Deans, who won five Super rugby titles as coach of the Crusaders, believes the New Zealand side will beat the champions in this coming weekend’s Super 14 semifinal at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Deans believes that the Crusaders, who are now coached by Todd Blackadder, will also benefit from the Bulls’ move from Loftus Versfeld to the unknown Orlando Stadium.
He also has a sound reason for arguing that the Bulls erred with their decision.
The Waratahs beat the Hurricanes 32-16 after leading 18-9 at halftime to secure their semi-final spot in the Super 14. The Crusaders also sent out a warning to fellow semi-finalists by comprehensively beating the Brumbies 40-22 in Christchurch on Friday
The Waratahs scored four tries through fullback Kurtley Beale (2) and wing Drew Mitchell (2). Flyhalf Berrick Barnes landed three conversions and two penalties.
The Hurricanes replied with a try by replacement wing David Smith. Scrumhalf Piri Weepu kicked a conversion and three penalties.