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Crusaders: The Knights who say 'Bugger'
Crusaders: The Knights who say 'Bugger'
(Crusaders get Caned)
08 Apr 2000

There were less novelty hats this Friday night. This was serious stuff. Many Wellington supporters had adopted the traditional pre-match posture....arms folded, nervous grin, pretending to read the banal contents of the over-priced programme. It was almost like being in the old Millard Stand...without the constant fear of structural collapse and death from hypothermia.

The Cantabs emerged from the player's tunnel, to their "anthem" (actually the theme to the film "1492" by Vangelis-the bastard responsible for "Chariots of Fire" and other over-produced muzak). Considering the Smurfs from Dorkland had run out to "hillbilly" banjo music, this was a quite appropriate show of respect to the visitors.

Within minutes, the atmosphere became less athleticparkesque as Jonah Lomu touched down to score the first try of the match. It seemed to come from nowhere, but the legendary Crusader defense had been found lacking and the home boys were 7-0 up after five minutes. Yo yo, Jonah's in da house, he da bomb etc.

However the Hurricanes insisted on making it hard for themselves (ooh er missus), giving away penalties, collapsing scrums and losing lineouts to their own throw. Norm was throwing straight this week, he just wasn't throwing it TO anyone in particular. Despite the best efforts of the local taunting squad behind the goalposts, Andy Mehrts kicked three penalties to keep the Crusaders in the game, and put them ahead 9-7 after the first quarter.

Discipline let the local side down again, when a Hurricane was sin-binned for an indiscretion in the scrum. It seemed only a matter of time before the visitors scored. Lomu paid the price for tackling like a Sumo wrestler..again, and let Vanisaka through to touch down (grab his LEGS Jonah, no no..his L E GS!). Mehrtens failed to convert, bringing the score to 14-7. Things seemed to be turning into custard again, before somehow the Hurricanes got the ball back and Christian Cullen flew over the Crusaders line. It was 14-14 at halftime.

The half-time stats were interesting:

 
Hurricanes
Crusaders
Territory
50%
50%
Possession
61%
39%
Rucks/Mauls
31
19
Handling Errors   
7
3
Turnovers  
9
5
Lineouts
12
9
Penalties
8
5

It looked like the Crusaders were only being kept in the game by Hurricane mistakes.

The home team came out firing in the second half, and in the 42nd minute of the match, Cullen dotted down to score his second try of the match...and there was much rejoicing. Dion Waller came off with an injury soon after, which was a pity, he was the only Hurricane forward who seemed to understand Norm's lineout calls.

The Crusaders launched an onslaught soon after, but this week the Hurricane defense was up to it. On several occasions the Crusaders made it over the line, only to turn the ball over, be held up, or be penalised for making a double-movement. But the pressure resulted in a penalty taken by Mehrtens, the score: 21-17 to the Hurricanes.

For the next twenty or so minutes, the visitors camped in the Hurricanes '22, until Captain Todd Blackadder simulated scoring a try and was awarded five points for artistic merit by the video referee.

The Hurricanes staged a fightback, and with ten minutes to go, Lomu burst through the defensive line to score in the corner, the successful conversion made by Holwell.

Another counter-attack by the Crusaders followed, and the second tight-head of the match was conceded to the visitors, but again the defense was up to it. Final score 28-22 to the 'Canes. It had been the game of the millenium.

by

Let us know what you think!

'Game of the Millenium' is going a bit far there Ben, but it sure was another great game involving the Crusaders.

Hopefully this sets the Canes up for a good finish to the comp, they are still one game ahead of the rest of the competition leaders.

BTW, that Cullen guy is quite good eh?

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