Super Rugby - Crusaders v Hurricanes
Crusaders down spirited Hurricanes
July 12, 2013
Date/Time: Jul 12, 2013, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Rugby League Park, Christchurch
Crusaders 25 - 17 Hurricanes
Half-time: 13 - 5
Tries: Ellis, Guildford, Marshall
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 2
Tries: Savea, Shields, Vito
Cons: Taylor

The Crusaders secured home advantage for the first elimination round of Super Rugby play-offs in wrapping up a 25-17 win over the Hurricanes at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday.

The seven-time champions were hunting a bonus-point win to put pressure on the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference. That would have left the defending champions needing at least one point from Saturday's final game against the Blues. As it was, the win means the Crusaders finish on 60 points to the Chiefs' 61 with their last game still in hand.

The southerners had to battle to overcome a high-octane start from a Hurricanes outfit that pushed them right to the last minute. Both teams ran at high tempo early on, but the Hurricanes' problems with accuracy continued as they gifted the Crusaders a try, coughing up possession while hot on attack after just four minutes. Winger Zac Guildford toed the turnover ahead twice, then had little trouble outpacing Canes prop Ben May for the try.

The Hurricanes took barely two minutes to reply, winger Matt Proctor sparking a counterattack 60 metres out which ended when Brad Shields popped the inside pass for No. 8 Victor Vito to dive across. Two Dan Carter penalties extended the Crusaders' lead to 13-8 halftime, with some outstanding Hurricanes defence keeping them in the match.

But although the Hurricanes had a distinct advantage in terms of territory and possession, they couldn't convert that into points until four minutes after the restart.

The Crusaders resisted a determined Hurricanes outfit to prevail in Christchurch (video available in Australia only)

Scrum-half TJ Perenara rifled the ball across the field for Shields to touch down, but the Crusaders re-established their lead 10 minutes later when Andy Ellis scored after Perenara's clearing kick from a defensive lineout was charged down.

The Hurricanes continued to play with uncharacteristic patience, and were rewarded on 63 minutes when All Blacks winger Julian Savea dived across and Andre Taylor added the extras for the Crusaders to lead 18-17 with 15 minutes remaining.

But with two minutes to go, Israel Dagg latched onto a Hurricanes' chip kick and the Crusaders moved the ball quickly with Tom Marshall winning the race to the line from his kick ahead to put the result beyond doubt.


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