February 22 - 2008 Crusaders turn tables on Bulls

After their semi-final loss to the Bulls in Pretoria in 2007 the Crusaders got a measure of revenge with a 54 – 19 trouncing the next season, and in Bulls’ territory.

Stephen Brett

“It took the Crusaders 30 minutes to shake off the shackles of last year’s semifinal defeat at Loftus Versfeld.

Once they withstood the expected Bulls opening onslaught, they quickly erased the 12- 0 lead of the home side with two quickfire tries and totally dominated the second half to romp home in the most convincing fashion.

Five more tries followed as the visiting side showed too much finesse and finishing power for the defending Super 14 champions to handle.

With an impressive Andrew Ellis allowing Daniel Carter and Stephen Brett to dictate play, the home side surrendered meekly. They fell off tackles and could not cope with the passing game of the visitors.

It did not look all that flash in the first 30 minutes though, as the Bulls dominated, but once the Crusaders adjusted their play, it was all over.

“We tried to do too much fancy stuff in the opening 30 minutes,” Richie McCaw conceded afterwards. “That allowed them to dominate us and, to be honest, I was worried at one stage as it followed the same pattern as last year’s semi. But we fronted up, took responsibility and started to play more direct rugby.

“That opened up the spaces and we could utilise our strike runners.”

Best and Fairest: Stephen Brett (Crusaders) 3, Andrew Ellis (Crusaders) 2, Danie Rossouw (Bulls) 1”

From “Rugby News”, Issue 3 2008 p. 24.