Crusaders outclass Lions in Johannesburg
April 5, 2014
The Crusaders proved too strong for the Lions in Johannesburg (video available in Australia only)
The Crusaders became the first New Zealand team to taste success on South African soil this Super Rugby season with a comfortable 28-7 defeat of the Lions in Johannesburg.
The seven-time champions led 6-0 at half-time and scored three tries to one in the second spell against an error-ridden Lions side, who have now lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Crusaders.
Victory provided a boost for the 12th-placed Crusaders, whose record improves to three wins and three losses. The Lions, who have won four and lost three, drop from fourth to seventh place.
A strong lineout formed the basis of the victory for the Crusaders, who stole six Lions throws. The visitors kicked much of their possession while the Lions were more enterprising but struggled with mistakes in the face of some rugged Crusaders defence.
Stand-in Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty says his team were committed to turning around last weekend's 29-26 home loss to the Hurricanes.
"The boys were pretty disciplined with their game plan. We played at the right end of the field, put them under pressure in their half and scored points off the back of that."
Inside centre Crotty, skipper in place of injured Kieran Read, scored his team's first try after breaking clear of the defence 40-metres out. Centre Lionel Mapoe scored the Lions' only try before the Crusaders rattled in 15 points over the final 11 minutes.
Scrum-half Andy Ellis scooted 30m to score a try while All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg kicked a penalty and laid on the final try to centre Kieron Fonotia with a deft grubber kick. The Crusaders face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next week while the Lions host the competition-leading Sharks. Crotty says the trip to South Africa was providing a boost after a stuttering start to their campaign.
"It's good to get away from all the New Zealand media and just get tight really."