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All Blacks duo sign off with win

The Crusaders gave Dan Carter and Richie McCaw a fitting send-off with a season-ending 37-24 win over the Brumbies.

Carter will join Racing Metro in France after the upcoming World Cup, with McCaw also expected to either move abroad or retire.

Two tries from Nemani Nadolo and one from Matt Todd gave their side a 21-10 half-time lead in Canberra but they had to survive a rousing second-half fightback.

Jarrad Butler added to David Pocock's first-half score and a penalty try brought the Brumbies within three points, but a similar score at the other end - though it denied McCaw a place on the scoresheet - made the game safe for the New Zealanders.

The Brumbies took an early lead when Nic White kicked a penalty to touch and the line-out set up a trademark rolling maul, from which Pocock scored and Christian Lealiifano converted.

But an immediate response saw Kieran Read stopped on the line before the Crusaders recycled the ball to the prolific Nadolo, who went over in the corner.

Tom Taylor missed the conversion as Carter was having treatment to a neck injury, but Carter returned to kick a penalty soon afterwards for an 8-7 lead.

Lealiifano and Carter traded penalties and Todd was denied a try by the television match official.

But with Nadolo having become the first Crusader to score in five successive matches, Todd soon became the second - and the first forward ever to achieve the feat in Super Rugby - after another line-out maul.

The bruising Nadolo's deft chip-and-chase score just before half-time made it 21-10 to the Crusaders, Carter with his second missed kick in succession.

Brumbies flanker Pocock did not re-emerge for the second half, having gone off shortly before the interval for a concussion test.

Carter kicked a penalty after Jesse Mogg was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, but Crusaders lock Luke Romano was yellow-carded for a similar offence and Butler scored off the back of a Brumbies maul, Lealiifano adding a good conversion.

Carter booted a long-range penalty in the 63rd minute but Butler again crashed over off the back of the pack, though this time the score was officially recorded as a penalty try.

The Crusaders responded in kind, though, forming a superb driving maul around McCaw. The New Zealand captain appeared to touch down but again, a penalty score was the verdict. Carter's conversion made it 34-24.

Carter fittingly was left to knock the ball out of play to end the game, which was McCaw's 100th Super Rugby win.

Crusaders skipper Kieran Read told Sky Sports 1: "It was a good way to send those guys off. They're living legends - they'll go down in world rugby (history), never mind Crusaders rugby."

The Crusaders nevertheless miss out on the play-offs, with the Brumbies finishing sixth and facing a qualifying final away from home.


From Belfast Telegraph