Super Rugby: Crusaders secure home play-off with Hurricanes win
Last Updated: 12/07/13 11:45am
The Crusaders ensured they will host a play-off next week as they defeated the Hurricanes 25-17 in Christchurch on Friday.
The victory sees the Crusaders end the regular season in fourth place as they were unable to claim the bonus point required to overtake the Chiefs in third.
It was the kicking of Dan Carter that gave the home side the edge in the first half. His accuracy from the tee giving the hosts a 13-5 lead at the break after the sides had exchanged tries.
It was a closely fought contest with just a point between the sides as the game entered its final stages.
Crusaders' Zac Guilford claimed the first score of the game, chasing down his own kick to score against the run of play.
Carter converted only for the Hurricanes to respond immediately through Victor Vito who powered over following a break from Matt Proctor. Beauden Barrett missed the conversion under pressure but the visitors remained a threat.
Carter added a long-range penalty after 25 minutes and then another just before the interval to give the Crusaders an eight-point advantage at the end of a highly-entertaining first period.
That lead was cut to three early in the second period as Brad Shields raced through to touch down but Barrett was again unable to convert.
Scrum-half Andy Ellis restored the eight-point buffer, scoring in the corner having charged down his opposite number TJ Perenara. A rare miss from Carter meant the score stayed at 18-10.
An excellent Hurricanes move ended in Julian Savea crossing for the score and ensured the game remained very much in the balance, especially after Andre Taylor converted to reduce the deficit to just one.
It was a tense final 15 minutes but Tom Marshall's late try put the result beyond doubt for the Crusaders and they can now look forward to a home tie when the play-offs get under way next week.
Super Rugby 2013 Round 20
The Sharks ran in ten tries as they registered a comprehensive 58-13 victory over the Kings in Durban on Saturday.
Western Force ran in three tries as they registered a shock 21-15 victory to thwart the Brumbies in Perth on Saturday.
The Reds produced a resilient performance to hold out against the Waratahs as they triumphed 14-12 in Sydney.