Heroic win for Crusaders over Stormers
Sportal.co.nz 31 Mar 2013 Getty Images
Already without All Blacks Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Israel Dagg and Keiran Read, the Crusaders lost the cornerstone of their pack prop Owen Franks 15 minutes into the game.
In a game in which the sides scored a try apiece, through flanker Matt Todd for the Crusaders and flanker Siya Kolisi for the Stormers, it was the goal-kicking boot of Carter's stand-in Tyler Bleyendaal that made the difference as he landed a conversion and four penalty goals.
Bleyendaal also led his team well around the field showing deft touches in his tactical play and the young five-eighths was rewarded for his efforts by winning the man of the match award.
The home team got out to an 11-0 lead despite lineout problems while the Crusaders burst back in the 22nd minute when Matt Todd crossed for their try.
By continuing to lay siege in the Stormers' half, the Crusaders forced errors and Bleyendaal was able to land two penalty goals to ensure a 13-11 lead at the break.
Despite a long time spent in the Stormers half they were unable to bridge the defences of the home side, one period of play featuring 26 phases.
The situation was eased in the 55th minute when No.8 Duane Vermeulen was sin-binned for a reckless tackle on wing Zac Guildford.
However, the Stormers broke the stranglehold and had their own time on attack during a hectic last 10 minutes which saw the Crusaders have to pull off an enormous defensive effort to hold their line.
The game ended with a try-saving tackle being made in the corner among a swag of players determined to hold out for the win.
Central to the Crusaders' success was their inability to attack the Stormers lineout. They had been wary of the influence of giant lock Andries Bekker but he was eliminated as a threat as the home team had a horror night in that phase.
Even the ploy of throwing long came unstuck for the Stormers as lock Sam Whitelock produced a fine display to demonstrate his growing worth and experience in lineout control.
Stormers 14 (Siya Kolisi try; Joe Pietersen 3 pen) Crusaders 19 (Matt Todd try; Tyler Bleyendaal con, 4 pen). HT: 11-13
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