Crusaders stroll into S14 Final
May 20, 2006
It was only a couple weeks ago the Crusaders were shocked by a run of a tie against the pushover Force and then a loss to the Stormers. Cantab fans got worried and opponents got excited, believing the red-and-blacks era of domination was over and there were weaknesses to exploit. The Crusaders rectified the poor run by dumping the Bulls in the Bulls home turf.
So despite Bulls fans eternal optimism, it was hardly going to be a surprise to see the defending champion Crusaders repeat the trick at home with a berth in the Super 14 Final on the line.
As expexcted, the Crusaders clinically dismantled the Bulls this morning, running away 35-15 winners and setting up a classic All-Kiwi S14 Final next weekend.
Crusaders to meet Hurricanes in final
Saturday May 20, 2006
Crusaders 35 Bulls 15
The Crusaders preserved a remarkable semifinals record by beating the Bulls 35-15 here tonight to stroll into next week's Super 14 rugby final against the Hurricanes.
In a result that was widely predicted, the Crusaders cruised away from their outgunned opponents to set up a return to Jade Stadium next Saturday, where they will play their fifth consecutive Super final and eighth in total.
Up 16-8 at halftime courtesy of two tries to winger Rico Gear, the Crusaders added three more after the break and were rarely troubled in a second half that lacked the vigour of last night's first semifinal when the Hurricanes beat the Waratahs 16-14 in Wellington.
The Hurricanes are likely to provide a greater threat to the Crusaders in an all-New Zealand final.
The Crusaders had far too much panache tonight for a Bulls side who looked bereft of attacking options and leg-weary after only arriving from Pretoria on Tuesday.
The result continued the Crusaders' perfect semifinals record, having won all their seven appearances in the old Super 12 competition.
The Bulls were also true to form, having lost their two appearances in the Super 12 semifinals. [...]
Crusaders 35 (Rico Gear 2, Chris Jack, Corey Flynn, Aaron Mauger tries; Daniel Carter pen, dropped goal, 2 con)
Bulls 15 (Bryan Habana, Pierre Spies tries; Morne Steyn pen, con).
More details here.