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Crusaders fall to the Reds at the final hurdle
Crusaders fall to the Reds at the final hurdle
(Dickinson... grrr)

Full Time: Reds (17) def Crusaders (16)

Half Time: Reds (7) trailed Crusaders (10)

Location: Lang Park Suncorp Stadium , 29 May 2011

Referee: Stuart Dickinson





Ben Tapuai (22m)
Will Genia (45m)

Brent Ward (29m)


Quade Cooper 2/2

Daniel Carter 1/1


Quade Cooper 1/4

Daniel Carter 3/4

Drop Goal

Quade Cooper 0/1


On a balmy Sunday afternoon in Brisbane in frot of a massive crowd of 48,000 the Crusaders fronted up to take on the table-topping Reds at home.

The Crusaders had Brad Thorne and Sonny-Bill Williams back, but were still not the squad that was so devastating in earlier rounds.

They are particularly missing outside backs Israel Dagg and Sean Maitland and half-backs Andy Ellis (and his lovely moustache) and Kahn Foutali'i who were all in great form prior to getting injured. In their place they fielded Super 15 rookies at half-back in Willi Heinz, and fullback, in Tom Marshall and recently signed journeyman cover Brent Ward on the wing.

Not that I am using this as an excuse, it's merely the situation they are in, but I do think they are really missing Andy Ellis the most, as he is so strong at attacking from the base of the scrum and keeping the defense guessing, and certainly more on a par with Wallaby opposite Will Genia.

The game was tightly played, with frantic periods of play that stretched from back and forth from one side to the other, and often even from one end to the other as both teams tried to find a hole in the fantastic defensive lines on both sides.

The Crusaders scored first with a penalty from Carter but the Reds hit back with a nicely worked try by midfielder Ben Tapuai off the back of a good lineout by the Reds. The final pass from Genia to Tapuai looked a bit forward to me (and I have seen other match reports mention the same thing) but these things happen.

And I am sure that Stu Dickinson has it in for the Crusaders. :)

The Crusaders went into the half in front though after Dan Carter ripped the ball out in the tackle, fed the rampaging Fruean-train who busted up field and set Ward up in the corner. 10-7 to the Crusaders at the half.

In the second spell the Reds were the first to hit back, with a sneaky try to Will Genia, but after that it appeared that the Crusaders had things under control.

They turned up the pressure at set piece, splintering the Reds scrum on a few occassions, and even started get the Reds jumpy in the lineouts, stealing a few of those two.

As a result of the pressure Dan Carter got some shots at goal, and pushed the Crusaders back in front 16-14 with two penalty goals. 

It felt like they had things under control with only a couple of minutes left, but when the Reds managed to get back into the Crusaders 22 (via a missed knock-on, but I accept that Dickinson was playing advantage at the time) things came unstuck.

Dickinson penalised McCaw in the last minute for a ruck infringement. Richie appeared to walk through the ruck and pick up the ball legally, but the eyes-of-Dickinson didn't see it that way, and penalised him in front of the posts.

Quade Cooper kicked the penalty to clinch the win for the Reds, 17-16.

Richie was remarkably controlled in his post-match response ''I guess when you think you're in the right and you're not, what can you say? He'd made his decision … You throw your hands in the air a bit" he said, but at the time you could tell he was perplexed by the call.

It certainly was an exciting game, and I guess if it was the Crusaders who stole it at the death then I might join John Eales in calling it "one for the ages", but they didn't, so I won't.

Crusaders have a bye this weekend, and then we finish the regular season with "home" games against the Blues and the Hurricanes. Sounds easy. :)



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Bloody Dickheadson...

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