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Crusaders' boots off target in loss to Chiefs
As a statement, this is about as
good as it gets from the Chiefs.
Missing a host of players, most
notably loose forwards Sam
Cane and Tanerau Latimer due
to injury, plus All Black halfback
Tawerau Kerr-Barlow from the
reserves bench just before kick-
o , they resembled a rubber band
as they stretched, expanded, and
then ung all of that energy
back at the Crusaders at AMI
Stadium in Christchurch.
Second best at scrum time, a
bit shaky as usual at lineout time,
losing the territory battle, none
of it mattered to the two-time
As has become traditional
over the past couple of seasons,
their defence was outstanding.
Cracks appeared late on --- the
Crusaders laying siege to an
exhausted Chiefs' line --- but by
then it was too late.
About the most e ective of
Crusaders runners in the rst
half was George Whitelock, the
anker running intelligent lines
with aggression. In the end,
Sam Whitelock decided to take
matters into his own hands when
taking an attacking lineout from
20m out, and running through
for a try early in the second half
--- the Crusaders most direct
move of the night.
Once again the absence of the
resting No 8 Kieran Read was
critical for the home team.
Fullback Israel Dagg was well
contained, as were inexperienced
wings Na Tuitavake and Johnny
McNicholl. Ryan Crotty showed
ability and pace but not enough to
worry mid eld opposites Robbie
Fruean and Charlie Ngatai.
e Chiefs, behind on the
possession stakes, seemed able
to slip tackles that much easier.
August Pulu, Aaron Cruden ---
especially in the second half --- and
Fruean were a constant handful.
It was Fruean, almost
predictably, who put the rst
dagger into his former team,
running like a locomotive down
the left touchline and barging
o McNicholl, Tyler Bleyendaal
and Richie McCaw. James Lowe,
from Crusaders' territory, drove
in the second with a runaway try
in the nal minutes.
For Bleyendaal it was an
unhappy night --- most notably
for his terrible goalkicking (he
missed all four penalty attempts
in the rst half --- and for that
the Crusaders coaches must take
Bleyendaal impressed during
pre-season and for that reason
earned a start at No 10 but
leaving Tom Taylor on the
bench was always going to raise
eyebrows for one reason ---
his accurate boot. Last season
Bleyendaal kicked at 57%; Taylor
88%, reason alone to have him on
the eld from the rst whistle,
most would think.
Taylor took the eld for Bleyen-
daal in the second half and
almost inevitably his conversion
for Whitelock's try went over,
but he missed a penalty from the
same sideline soon after and then
is was not a pretty match.
Mistakes ruled --- the Crusaders
missed a total of seven penalties
--- George Whitelock and
Dominic Bird spent time in the
sinbin, with Ben Tameifuna from
the Chiefs following suit.
Ben Afeaki and Brodie
Retallick went o at the start
of the fourth quarter with
concussion after clashing heads.
ere was blood, but happily for
them they got the result they
were after. A statement rst up
in enemy territory against the
team which thrashed them on
the same pitch last year.
Chiefs 18 (Robbie Fruean,
James Lowe tries; Aaron Cruden
2 pens, con) beat Crusaders 10
(Sam Whitelock try; Tom Taylor
con, pen). Half-time: 8-0.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders breaks through a tackle by James Lowe of the Chiefs at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Questions remain over proposed super rugby format
After months of speculation, and assurances
the public would be informed before
Christmas, the latest information released by
super rugby's governing body Sanzar about
the competition's proposed new format is
heavy on possibility but extremely light on
An eight line statement, received by e-mail
at 8.37 on ursday night, told us that after
next year there is likely to be 17 teams,
including one from Argentina and six from
South Africa. New Zealand and Australia
will continue with the current model of ve
And that, unfortunately, is that. No other
details were available and yesterday Sanzar's
chief executive Greg Peters was unavailable
for comment all day due to meetings. A
Sanzar spokesman said in any case Peters
had nothing more to add to what he said
in the statement, which was: "Today's
(Sanzar) meeting was another important
step in deciding the future of super rugby.
Encouraging progress was made and we
now have a preferred model that involves six
teams from South Africa and a new team
" e model will now be taken to the
National Unions for approval before Sanzar
presents its nal position to broadcasters and
fans in due course."
Nothing more to add? What about --- a
smidgen of detail about how the draw could
work with 17 teams replacing the current 15,
a number which lends itself naturally to three
conferences? Is this the end of the conference
system? Will all teams play each other under
the new model?
ose questions, and more, will have to
be answered another time. For now we can
only speculate what this new competition
will look like and after years of tinkering
it is unlikely the changes will improve it.
South African teams are not drawcards in
New Zealand or Australia, and yet, here we
are about to welcome a new one on board.
Argentina? It is not a team to get the blood
racing either and how exactly that out t's
travel schedule is going to work is another
While Sanzar's wish to get Argentina
involved after adding them to the Rugby
Championship is understandable, it is clearly
pandering to, and over-indulging, South
e New Zealand super coaches' wish was
to have a Paci c team based in Auckland
added to the competition. Once again, Paci c
rugby appears to have been overlooked. What
excitement and impact a team representing
the islands could have provided.
Instead, we will have to put up with what
will be a weak team from the Republic and
a team from South America likely to tire
quickly from the steep learning cur ve and
what will be almost constant travel. --- APNZ
South Africa amassed a total of 423 then
crushed Australia's top order in two hours
as the visitors slipped to 112 for four at
stumps on day two of the second test.
Centuries from A B de Villiers and J
P Duminy overnight gave the Proteas
complete control of the match in Port
Elizabeth, but left-armer Wayne Parnell's
double-wicket maiden put them in the box
seat for a victory that would square the
three-test series at 1-1.
Michael Clarke then popped up a
simple catch to Dean Elgar in the covers,
meaning David Warner (65 not out) faces
a mountain of work if his side is to regain
Already Warner has chanced his luck,
providing an edge that fell just short of
de Villiers and another the wicketkeeper
dropped when the aggressive opener was
Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon, whose
bowling yielded ve for 130 from 46 overs,
sur vived for 37 minutes to be unbeaten on
In the penultimate over of the day Lyon
edged Dale Steyn to de Villiers, but the
hosts' appeal was turned down and they
opted against a review that would have
overturned umpire Kumar Dharmasena's
Lyon was then dropped by Duminy at
gully in the nal over.
De Villiers (116) and Duminy (123)
made batting look easy in a 149-run
Discounting the early lbw dismissal of
Chris Rogers to Vernon Philander for ve,
it was initially a similar story when it came
Australia's turn to bat after 150.5 overs in
But things changed dramatically in the
10th over when Graeme Smith rst threw
the ball to Parnell as the umpires repeatedly
checked the light metre.
Playing his rst test in four years, Parnell
drew edges from Alex Doolan and Shaun
Marsh that ew to wicketkeeper de
With that the 24-year-old, who faced
drug charges in Mumbai last year resulting
from an IPL party, overtook Mitchell
Johnson's match tally of one scalp.
Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle
bowled a combined 86 overs and were
put on ice for the nal 18 overs of South
Africa's marathon rst innings.
All three will need to be managed
carefully in the second dig if they are to
come up for the potential series decider in
Cape Town that starts on Saturday.
It was Australia's longest stint in the eld
since sending down 154.1 overs against
India at Hyderabad in March 2013.
e Proteas added 209 runs to the
overnight score before Australia nally
wrapped things up with a run-out of
Lyon grabbed the key scalps of de Villiers
and Duminy to be the pick of the seven
bowlers Clarke tried, which included
himself. --- AAP
South Africa in total control
PICTURE: Getty Images
Ryan Harris of Australia reacts as A B de Villiers of South Africa scores from his
bowling during day two of the second test match.
Do not worry about the
Wellington Phoenix, its season is
still on track.
Despite being hammered 5-0
by the Melbourne Heart in the
capital last Sunday, Wellington
bounced back in perfect fashion
with a 4-1 win over the Central
Coast Mariners across the
Tasman last night.
After being down 1-0 at half-
time, a dominant second spell
saw Wellington draw level and
then take the lead as the team
earned a valuable three points as
it continued to surge towards the
A-League play-o s.
After last week's defeat,
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick
made a couple of changes as
he brought Tyler Boyd back in
to his starting line-up, while
Manny Muscat moved from
left back to a defensive mid eld
position, which gave Reece Caira
an opportunity in defence.
Wellington's rst-half e ort
was a throwback to the rst 10
games of the season when the
players went without a win as
they dominated the early stages
of the contest but could not
nish their opportunities.
Striker Stein Huysegems had
a golden chance in the third
minute but did not make the best
of it after being played in to the
box by Carlos Hernandez, while
Kenny Cunningham latched on
to a Hernandez free kick but put
his header wide in the 15th.
But, just as Wellington looked
like it was settling in to the game,
Bernie Ibini opened the scoring
for the home side when he
turned a ne shot inside the left-
hand post in the 20th minute as
the Mariners went up 1-0.
But the second spell belonged
to Wellington and Cunningham
then squared the argument at
1-1 in the 47th minute after a
de ected Caira cross fell to him
at the top of the box.
e Costa Rican international
then wasted no time in
dispatching a bullet shot past
Mariners' keeper Liam Reddy.
As neither side was able to gain
the ascendancy, the Mariners
earned a bizarre penalty as
Durante committed a handball
in the box when his arm was
outstretched as he was appealing
for a free kick as he believed
Caira had been fouled.
Moss made a terri c save
though as he denied Mile
Sterjovski's strike, which proved
a turning point in the game.
at save inspired the visitors
and Wellington took the lead
when Hernandez delivered a
stunning goal from outside the
box in the 64th minute and then
Huysegems shot to the top of
the golden boot standings as he
scored his 10th of the season
only a minute later.
From being level at 1-1 to 3-1
up in the space of a minute or
so gave the Phoenix an obvious
boost in con dence and Moss
was again at his best as he denied
Sterjovski from close range with
15 minutes left.
Substitute Jeremy Brockie then
scored his fourth of the season in
the 82nd as Wellington completed
the record-setting rout.
e victory moved Wellington
in to sixth on the A-League
ladder but that could change
depending on the outcome of
the clash between Sydney FC
and Newcastle tomorrow.
Wellington Phoenix 4 (Kenny
Cunningham 47, Carlos
Hernandez 64, Stein Huysegems
65, Jeremy Brockie 82) Central
Coast Mariners 1 (Bernie Ibini
20) Half-time: 0-1, --- APNZ
Phoenix bounces back in style
Another nger has been pried
loose from the Breakers' once-
rm grip on the Australian NBL
trophy --- and now they are
hanging on by a thread.
e three-time defending
champions went down 88-68
against the Wollongong Hawks
last night, dropping their record
to 9-13 and leaving their play-o
hopes almost extinguished.
But the Breakers have no time
to dwell on the defeat, travelling
to Adelaide tomorrow for what
is now a game of the utmost
importance. A loss to the second-
placed 36ers will all but conclude
the Breakers' campaign, while
a win would still leave them
needing a helping hand.
Even if the Breakers take ve of
their remaining six games, they
will still need three teams to beat
Sydney, starting when the Kings
visit last-placed Townsville today.
eir reliance on other teams
was a result of an untimely
power outage at the Win
Entertainment Centre, with the
Breakers hamstrung by fouls and
unable to recover from an awful
o ensive rst half.
e Breakers had won all
three meetings with the Hawks
heading into their nal clash
of the season, while the two
teams both cracked three gures
last time they played. Neither
of those trends threatened to
continue as the Breakers' away
record fell to 3-9.
Wollongong rode to the win on
the back of a 28-17 advantage
in free-throw attempts, built
after the Breakers repeatedly
fell into the bonus in every
quarter. Kerron Johnson was the
rst to foul out for the visitors,
ending a poor night personally,
while Mika Vukona and Tom
Abercrombie soon followed the
point guard to the bench.
Vukona was once again the best
of the Breakers, grabbing another
double-double of 13 points and
11 rebounds during his time in
the oor. Corey Webster had
11 points and Gary Wilkinson
grabbed 10 boards but little else
went right for the New Zealand
e signs were ominous early as
the Breakers departed from their
free-scoring ways of recent weeks
but, thankfully for the champs'
chances, the Hawks were not
e Breakers came into the
contest averaging more than 100
points from their previous four
games, but both sides shot worse
than 40% from the oor in an
anaemic rst half.
Wollongong looked early like it
would be more proli c, jumping
out to an 8-0 lead before
Vickerman called a timeout to
stem the ow. at move seemed
to pay dividends as the Breakers
ended the opening quarter down
by three, thanks in large to six
points and six rebounds from
e two teams' o ences seem to
get worse in the second quarter
and, with the three-ball sorely
lacking, the result was in the
balance as the home side took
a ve-point lead into the major
at advantage was quickly
doubled as the Breakers were
held scoreless in the opening
couple of minutes in the third.
Being bossed on the boards and
ceding a too many free throws,
they were actually doing well to
avoid being blown out.
e de cit was at single gures
heading into the fourth, but the
Breakers' comeback attempt
stuttered as the champs failed to
chip away at Wollongong's lead.
After pulling within two
possessions midway through the
period, things quickly turned
sour as Rotnei Clarke followed
his 39 from last week to end with
28 and ensure the nal margin
matched the Breakers' malaise.
Hawks 88 (Clarke 28, Forman
13, Davidson 10) beat Breakers
68 (Vukona 13, Webster 11,
Corletto 9). Half-time: 35-30.
Breakers dealt deadly blow
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