Crusaders snatch victory from Stormers
March 8, 2014
The Crusaders had a tough job breaking the Stormers defence
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The Crusaders scraped a 14-13 win over the Stormers in Christchurch to post their first victory of the Super Rugby season and maintain a proud 13-year record, a penalty from five-eighth Tom Taylor giving them a hard-fought and relieving success after they had trailed 13-6 going into the final 10 minutes.
The win was their 33rd in a row on home soil against South African teams since 2001, and it also maintained a perfect nine-from-nine record at home against the Stormers. However, this was among the toughest challenges they have faced as the visitors absorbed everything the Crusaders threw at them with staunch defence while also launching some effective counter strikes.
Each team scored one try after the score was locked 3-3 at half-time, following penalties by Taylor and Stormers counterpart Demetri Catrakilis. The Stormers scored a second penalty before inside centre Damian de Allende scored a blistering try from 60 metres after a break and chip ahead from midfield partner Jean de Villiers.
The Crusaders, who lacked potency in attack for much of the game, found another gear to score through debut replacement centre Kieron Fonotia in the 71st minute. Taylor missed the touchline conversion but his third penalty and some desperate defence proved enough.
The win does not hide the fact the seven-time champion Crusaders are still struggling for their best, however, having opened their season with losses to the Chiefs, 18-10, and the Blues, 35-24. They had an effective scrum against the Stormers, but also an unusually loose lineout, and they were guilty again of drifting sideways in attack and some poor handling.
The Stormers, meanwhile, were highly effective at slowing down ruck ball or turning it over, and they were unlucky not to secure a second successive win after beating the visiting Hurricanes 19-18 in round three.
Crusaders snatched the win from the Stormers only minutes from full-time (video available only in Australia)