It was an arm wrestle in Christchurch but the seven times champion Crusaders held out the DHLStormers and ended the Stormers unbeaten run in this year’s Super Rugby competition, finishing the match 31-24.
The Crusaders 10 Tom Taylor had an unbelievable game with the boot, slotting 7 penalties and a conversion and scored the Crusaders only try, scoring all the Crusaders points. for the DHL Stormers de Jongh and Habana crossed the line for 5 pointers, with both Pietersen (2 pen 1 conv) and Grant (2) contributing with the boot.
The DHLStormers lost both their starting locks in the first half with Bekker and Etzebeth both off injured and lost Elstadt in the 2nd half for 10 minutes to a yellow card for a high tackle, all of which had an impact on the game.
The DHLStormers showed remarkable character in the tightly fought game securing a losing bonus point deep into injury time.
Jean De Villiers payed tribute to the Crusaders after the game saying, “It was an incredibly tough match. They are a quality side and played very well in front of their home crowd.”
Next up for the Crusaders are the Hurricanes in Wellington, whilst the DHLStormers travel to Brisbane to take on defending champions, the Reds.
Pen: Taylor 7
Tries: De Jongh, Habana
Pen: Grant 2, Pietersen 2
Yellow cards: Wyatt Crockett (29 min – high tackle), Rynhardt Elstadt (66 min – high tackle)
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Tom Marshall.
DHL Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean De Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 JP du Plessis.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)