Sportal.co.nz 21.Jul.2012Getty Images
The Bulls hampered their first quarter with uncharacteristic mistakes, two vital concessions at the first lineout where a long throw allowed Matt Todd to secure ball over the back and at a scrum where a penalty conceded allowed the Crusaders an early chance, unfulfilled, for an early assault on the line.
Worse still was the concession of penalties at rucks, silly mistakes, which allowed first five-eighths Dan Carter landed two penalty goals within the first 10 minutes.
Uncharacteristic mistakes by both Carter, a missed penalty attempt, and his rival Morne Steyn, who kicked a 22m re-start out on the full, and then a fluffed tactical kick on his own 22m line, hinted at some nervousness, moreso in Steyn's case.
But after taking a blow making a tackle, it was Steyn's tactical option which opened up a chance for the Crusaders. Carter crabbed across field sufficiently to suck in two defenders before he launched wing Zac Guildford into a gap big enough for him to race through for the first try after 25 minutes.
More continuity play from the Crusaders saw another sustained period of play in the Bulls 22m area and when a penalty advantage had been signalled, Carter settled the issue by landing a right-footed dropped goal.
Steyn finally had his first shot at goal in the 36th minute, one earlier possible chance being taken as a kick to the corner for a lineout drive, and was successful.