Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ruthless Crusaders rout Reds

Dan Carter was on song in the Crusaders' victory over the Reds

The Crusaders showcased their Super Rugby title credentials with a comprehensive 38-9 victory over the Reds in Christchurch to seal their place in the semi-finals.

New Zealand star Dan Carter led the way for the Crusaders in the qualifying play-off with a try, three penalties and three conversions, while he also had a hand in his side's three other tries from centre Ryan Crotty (two) and Tom Marshall at AMI Stadium

For the outclassed Reds, Super Rugby champions in 2011 after beating the Crusaders in the final, their only points came from the boot of Quade Cooper with three penalties.

The Crusaders, who have won the tournament a record seven times but are without a title success since 2008, must now wait for the outcome of the Brumbies-Cheetahs match to find out if they will play the Chiefs or Bulls next up.

Carter opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty and he then helped set up Crotty for the game's opening try seven minutes later, which the All Black fly-half duly converted to make it 10-0.

The Reds responded with Cooper slotting over his first penalty and he then swapped three-pointers with Carter as the Crusaders led 13-6 after half-an-hour.

However, the Christchurch-based side, who have never lost a play-off match at home in Super Rugby, then moved up the gears to blow the Reds away.

Carter made the most of good work by Sam Whitelock to cross for a try and then the 31-year-old added another penalty on the stroke of half-time to give the Crusaders a 21-6 advantage at the interval.

Cooper reduced the gap with his third successful kick at the start of the second period but the Reds could not make any greater in-roads into the deficit and the Crusaders wrapped up a big win with further tries from Marshall and Crotty.

Carter added the conversions for both of those scores before Tom Taylor took over the kicking duties to completed the scoring with a late penalty.

More good news for the Crusaders was the second-half appearance of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw for his first minutes in this year's competition following a six-month sabbatical.

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