Crusaders stunned by Force, Chiefs hang on   25 Apr 2006

Ellie van Baaren

ROUND 11 REVIEW: It wasn’t the greatest of weekends for the New Zealand Super 14 teams. The Chiefs hung on by the skin of their teeth, the Hurricanes went down to the Brumbies, the Sharks put the final nail in Auckland’s coffin but the biggest shock was what almost happened to the Crusaders.

So the Crusaders aren’t unbeatable after all. There were red faces all round after the winless Western Force almost pulled off a stunning upset against the unbeaten Crusaders. But for a questionable TV ref’s decision in the dying minutes, the Force would have ended the match with a win.

The Crusaders were off for the entire match and went into half time 20-6 down in front of a vocal Perth crowd. A characteristic second half comeback ensured the Crusaders drew level, but they couldn’t quite pull of a last-minute win.

It was a timely reminder to both the defending champions and jaded Super 14 spectators that anything is possible.

From the Crusaders’ point of view it’s better they got this sort of shock now, ahead of their tour of South African duty, than in a match that could knock them out of the competition altogether.

When you’re so far out in front, it becomes inevitable that complacency will set in and it takes something like Saturday’s scare to remind you that you can’t take anything for granted.

The result meant the Crusaders couldn’t capitalise on their nearest rivals, the Waratahs, having a bye and are now four points out in front.

Next week they face the Stormers in Cape Town and they may the ones unlucky enough to feel the consequences of the Crusaders’ close call.

The Hurricanes stayed in third position on the table but lost to fourth-placed Brumbies. It was a bruising game and the Wellingtonians did nothing to disgrace themselves, however they never looked like winning either. A win would have cemented them in the top four with three rounds left, however, now they must stay sharp to avoid any nasty surprises that take them out at the last hurdle.

This weekend they will face a Chiefs team depleted by injury but busting to make their way into the top four. The Chiefs need at least a win, but preferably five points, to stay in contention while the Hurricanes are not yet in a "must-win" scenario, but cannot afford to lose, especially considering they are still to face the Waratahs.

The Chiefs came out of round 11 with a win against the Cheetahs, but it was mighty close. Once again it was a case of racing out to a handy lead then giving it away through unforced errors.

The Chiefs were up 21-3 after just 15 minutes on Saturday then took the foot of the gas and gifted the opposition two tries just a few minutes later.

With just 10 minutes left on the clock, the Chiefs found themselves 33-32 up. They dug in and held on, but I don’t envy Chiefs coach Ian Foster, being on the sidelines can’t have been easy.

The result leaves the Chiefs in sixth position on 27 points, behind the Sharks only on points differential and behind the fourth-placed Bulls by one competition point.

The Blues, however, are virtually out of the playoff race after going down to the Sharks. At ninth place on the table and 10 points shy of the fourth-placed team, the Blues are the worst performing New Zealand team this year.

Doug Howlett’s try in the first minute was a promising beginning in very humid Durban, However, it was not a sign of things to come as the Sharks proved to be simply more efficient and effective.

I hope the Highlanders made the most of their bye last weekend as they now face an equally well-rested Waratahs team. Things won’t get any easier as they then must face the Brumbies at home in Canberra.

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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