Blues still in the hunt but Crusaders remain on top   18 Apr 2006

There is very little to stop the Crusaders and Waratahs getting through to the semis and although it seems likely they will be joined by the Brumbies and the Hurricanes, three teams are still in with a chance – the Bulls, the Chiefs and, surprisingly, the Blues. ELLIE VAN BAAREN takes a look at round 10.

Who is going to stop the Crusaders? The Cheetahs knew they had their work cut out for them when they took on the Crusaders at Christchurch, but it must have hurt to end the evening with the title of the Crusaders’ most comprehensive victory so far this year.

The 53-17 trashing came just a week after a similar loss against No 2 on the table, the Waratahs. The Crusaders were already ahead 32-10 at half time so coach Robbie Deans had no problems with resting captain Richie McCaw and fellow All Black Chris Jack for most of the second spell.

And who wouldn’t when you have the services of the freakishly reliable Daniel Carter. The wunderkind continued his domination of the first five position with a personal haul of 28 points that included two tries, six conversions and two penalties.

The Cheetahs had no excuses, and coach Rassie Erasmus said he doubted any other team would be able to topple the Crusaders at home, pointing to the Brumbies as the likeliest to do so, despite the fact the Canberra team lost to the Waratahs on Sunday.

The match of the round – Waratahs v Brumbies – lived up to its name, providing a brutal clash in what had been dubbed the Australian test trial. The 37-14 scoreline was not entirely representative of the Brumbies’ effort, however they’ll need to be more cohesive if they’re to topple the Crusaders in round 14.

Next week the Crusaders travel to Perth to take on the Western Force who will no doubt be shaking in their collective boots. Considering the newcomers have yet to win a match and turned in an appalling performance this week against the Blues, they’re staring at a pontentially painful encounter with the defending champions.

Having said that it wasn’t all the Force players’ fault that their team lost 39-8 at the weekend, as the Blues turned in their most complete performance yet. Those playoff ambitions are not looking quite so laughable as the Auckland team now has more wins than losses on its register.

North Harbour’s Rua Tipoki ended the match a hero after his hat-trick only to turn villain when he was suspended for 16 weeks after striking Force’s James Hilgendorf (see below). But the bad news for the Blues is they may also lose Troy Flavell on the eve of their South African tour after he went off gripping his shoulder (see right).

The Blues are facing three games in South Africa against the Sharks, Cheetahs and Cats. They’ve already played the most dangerous of the sides, the Bulls, however the Cheetahs could prove quite a handful on their home soil.

Of course you also musn’t forget that as it gets closer to the last round the competition within a competition also goes down to the wire, with each of the South African sides fighting for their survival. At the moment the Cats and the Stormers are staring down the barrel, not a great place to be.

The Hurricanes moved back into third, behind the Waratahs on four and against points and since the NSW team have a bye this week, they have the chance to take outright second position if they beat the Brumbies in Brisbane – not an easy task.

The clash will be the real test of whether the team is what is pulling them through or just moments of individual brilliance. They will need all players to be firing if they’re to come out on top.

The Highlanders’ loss to the Hurricanes effectively ends their playoff chances since they have a bye this week, but the Chiefs are just hanging in there after an ugly but effective win against the Stormers. They’re sitting in a logjam with the Blues and Bulls on 22 points and will need to win all of their remaining matches to be in with a chance.

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Have your say: NZ considers rules for medicinal cannabis

12 Jul 2019 Health By Hon Dr David Clark
More widespread access to medicinal cannabis products is a step closer today with the release of proposals for regulations says... more

Steps taken to secure the future of New Zealand House London

10 Jul 2019 News By Rt HON WINSTON PETERS
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says further steps are being taken towards securing the future of New Zealand House in... more

Business

Minister Parker leads trade delegation to China

24 Apr 2019 Business News By Hon David Parker
Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker will lead a delegation of business representatives to China next week to advance the... more

Multinationals to pay fair share of tax

26 Jun 2018 Business News
26 JUNE 2018 HON STUART NASH New measures to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax will come into force next... more

Living

Kiwis Saving Kiwi - London fundraiser to save NZ's iconic national bird

3 Jun 2019 London
This is an opportunity for London Kiwis to become Kiwi Savers. We're not talking about our financial future here, but the very... more

Celebrating NZ wine: today is International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

3 May 2019 Food & Wine
Today, Friday 3 May, is International Sauvignon Blanc Day. Sauvignon Blanc is the variety that woke the world up to New Zealand wine,... more

Property

New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more

More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle

22 Aug 2018 Property
30 JULY 2018More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle HON JENNY SALESA The 2018 National Construction Pipeline... more

Migration

Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Post-study work rights emphasise skills NZ needs

8 Aug 2018 Migration
8 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY Changes to post-study work rights will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand... more

Travel

Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more

Sport

Looking to Lord's - The CWC19 Final awaits

14 Jul 2019 Cricket
Posted Friday, 12 July, 2019 in International News New Zealand or England will lift... more

Cricket World Cup 2019: England will face Black Caps in final after thumping Australia

12 Jul 2019 Cricket By Steve Douglas
Jul 12 2019 SKY SPORT England will play the Black Caps in the Cricket World Cup final after crushing Australia at Edgbaston. more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more

Recruitment

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more