Bulls suffer humiliating defeat against Crusaders

2011-04-09 19:46

The Canterbury Crusaders put on a superb defensive display and their explosive backs ran in three tries to hand the defending Super Rugby champions Bulls a humiliating 27-0 mauling at Timaru yesterday.

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, fullback Israel Dagg and replacement winger Tom Marshall scored the tries as the Crusaders won their fifth match in a row and first in their last four meetings with the Bulls.

This rubbed salt into South African rugby followers’ wounds a day after Adam Thomson and Colin Slade boosted their All Blacks chances by propelling the Otago Highlanders to a tight 24-21 victory over the Cheetahs at Carisbrook.

These results made it a bleak weekend for South African rugby before yesterday afternoon’s ties featuring Stormers against Reds and the Sharks hosting the Lions.

In another game played early yesterday, the ACT Brumbies ground out a 17-16 victory over the Wellington Hurricanes to snap a five-match losing streak and condemn the New Zealanders to their worst-yet start to a Super Rugby season.

With both sides struggling so far this season, the match never promised to be a classic and so it proved with penalties and errors abounding on a greasy surface at the Canberra Stadium.

Aaron Cruden’s fourth-minute try gave the visitors the perfect start, but Fijian winger Henry Speight crossed the line for the Brumbies on the stroke of
half-time and four penalties from the boot of fly-half Matt Giteau secured a narrow victory.

Aaron Cruden hit back with one of his own to give the Hurricanes a 10-6 lead, but it lasted just a minute before Henry Speight made amends for his earlier profligacy with a finish of real class.

Adding injury to insult, Hurricanes and All Blacks centre Conrad Smith left the field with blood pouring from his face after taking a nasty blow to the head.

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