Ok... alright... I'll write about the marvellous win over the Brumbies! No really, it's fine... I absolutely wish to write this story, especially since no-one else has... yet.
I watched the double header. Anyone who didn't?
Maybe a couple of 'Canes supporters... I wasn't too happy with their performance, so I doubt you guys were. That winning on
Thankfully the Blues fan who I was watching the game with (you know the old saying, "you can't choose your family...") was fairly unhappy about the general spectacle of the game, and I don't think it was just because I was vociferously supporting the 'Canes. Actually supporting isn't quite the right word. I think "urging, willing and lamenting" comes somewhat closer.
But that was just the 'pre-match entertainment' for we Crusaders fans. Yes, we were not to be content with another Carlos Spencer benefit. (Although I can't wait for the ABs locks to be announced as Williams and Jack - I'm grinning from ear to ear at the thought:-).
There were bigger fish to fry, or should I say nags to nobble!
We had a game against the resurgent Brumbies to play. Just to make it interesting we left them to last, at their home ground, after our tour of
Talk about do or die!
It certainly looked like drastic thoughts were flowing through the Crusaders when Rangi MacDonald offered to hang one of the Brumbies out to dry in the first minute.
I don't discount the yellow card at all, the final act was well deserving of it. But you could see how it happened, as the Brumbies backs crossed over each other MacDonald had to switch markers around the runner. He was unsighted for a moment, and certainly couldn't have aimed at the neck. Your reflexes simply get the better of you sometimes.
So with the Crusaders a man down of course the Brumbies score a try, but they didn't do it too easily. Took some skill for Giteau (another good Australian name) to find that gap. The way the commentators are talking that young man up, he may need bigger headgear soon!
But by the time Rangi's 10 minutes in sideline purgatory was up, the Crusaders were ahead 8-7. A near miss from McCaw was placed with care for Ben Hurst to pick and touch down in the corner. Carter may have missed the sideline conversion and a drop goal 'penalty magnet', but he slotted the resulting advantage penalty! He he he...
So now we got to see just how well our "shock selection" 1st 5/8th was. Answer - he was pretty damn good.
We always knew that MacDonald had a good running and kicking game, so he showed off his passing game to rub it in. Certainly Marika was happy to be on the end of the skip out pass to scoot over without a hand laid on him.
Dan Carter added a more accurate drop goal to make the Half time score 18-7.
Ok, so the start of the second half was all Brumbies and their first try was superb. The try to super sub Owen Finegan was inevitable. MacDonald tried his darnedest to stop him by ripping off his head, but unfortunately the welds held.
Try saving tackle of the season (not counting the Reds last gasp efforts against the Highlanders) must go to: little Joe Maddock for wrapping up Dan Vickerman's sure-thing-try. Earned the Brumbies a 5m scrum from which the Finegan try resulted, but let's not be too picky; Maddock struck a blow for the little guy everywhere.
Still with the size of Vickerman, Joe had plenty of blind spot to attack him from! I didn't see where he stashed the step ladder either!
Another fine example of
So 21-18 down and 20 minutes to go, Robbie Deans went to the bench and found a couple of guys who could make a name for themselves. Remember you heard it here first: Justin Marshall and Scott Robinson might be the next big thing.
It was selections like this that had gotten the Australians (or at least that's what was reported on this side of the ditch) all worked up. Much like a certain selection controversy before the Crusaders last regular season game last year (hemm... Waratahs downed by 77 points if I recall).
What these rugby scribes seem to forget is that the difference between
Rangi MacDonald may have been a surprise selection, but letís see him play a bit before you decide that it is a deliberate ploy to mislead. Ben Hurst is a first rate half back who would be starting for most other teams in the comp. Ditto Maddock on wing. Ralph has grown as a player since his disastrous 1 game at AB's centre - he is a fine cover centre now.
Scott Robinson hasnít exactly been setting the world on fire this year, and that gave Sam Broomhall a start. But I donít think anyone was worried about them, they are only solid players.
Thankfully the replacements helped gird the Crusaders for a good finish - with a penalty, a try to big bad Brad and another conversion to round things off.
Beating the Brumbies by more than 1 point? Whatís that all about? Ah well, Iím sure that normal service will resume next year.
But for now bring on the semiís and a trip to the rugger for the RugbyHeads. We didnít deliberately wait until the business end of the season, honest!
Go the Crusaders !!!!!