The Crusaders recovered from last week’s loss to the Reds by beating the Sharks 35-6 in Christchurch in the first match of Round 3 in the Super14 on Friday.
The Crusaders outscored the Sharks by four tries to nil with the last two tries coming in the last ten minutes as Andy Goode was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Dan Carter.
Zac Guildford scored two tries for the Crusaders while replacements Adam Whitelock and Quentin McDonald added tries in a bonus-point win.
Dan Carter converted three tries and landed three penalties but had a hand in the Crusaders tries and scored 15 points in total.
The match also saw the return of Richie McCaw to Super 14 rugby as a second-half replacement for the Crusaders.
The All Blacks captain missed the first two rounds while on extended leave but returned to give the Crusaders a boost after a second-round loss to the Reds.
The Durban-based Sharks lost Springboks captain John Smit twice to the blood bin before he was finally forced from the field with a head cut after 69 minutes.
“Our defense set the tone for us tonight,” Crusaders captain Kieran Read said.
“There were some great hits going in from the boys and that set things up for us.”
Halfback Rory Kockott kicked a long-range penalty to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead after only two minutes after Crusaders lock Brad Thorn, in his first Super 14 start of the season, was found to have dangerously tackled No. 8 Ryan Kankowski.
Guildford retrieved the lead for the Crusaders in the 18th minute, cutting sharply infield from the left wing to take the final pass of a movement which began with a Sharks turnover.
Carter missed the conversion – one of his two misses Friday – but landed a 34th-minute penalty to give the Crusaders a 10-6 lead.
Penalties to Carter in the 48th and 61st minutes gave the Crusaders a 10-point lead and Guildford’s intercept try in the 69th minute sealed the home team’s victory.
Tries to replacements Whitelock and McDonald earned the Crusaders a bonus point and left the Sharks without a win after three games.
“We’ve now had three disappointing results, but we were beaten by a better team tonight,” Smit said.
“We made errors in defense, which you can’t make against a team like the Crusaders.”
Article Courtesy of Super14.com