Cru­saders beat Canes yet fail to de­throne Chiefs

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

TOM MAR­SHALL scored a bril­liant try to seal a 25-17 vic­tory for the Cru­saders over a dogged Hur­ri­canes in Christchurch yes­ter­day, but it was not enough to knock the ri­val Chiefs off the top of the New Zealand con­fer­ence.

The Cru­saders had needed a four-try win to take a bonus point and put pres­sure on the Chiefs, but man­aged only three as the Hur­ri­canes de­fended stoutly to the fin­ish.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, the Chiefs, can head into their fi­nal reg­u­lar- sea­son match against the Blues to­day as­sured they have a week off be­fore a home semi-fi­nal, re­gard­less of the out­come.

The Cru­saders ce­mented a home play­off in the first week of the post- sea­son, but will have plenty to pon­der af­ter a dis­jointed dis­play in front of their home fans.

The Hur­ri­canes were al­ready out of the play­offs, but took it to the hosts and pulled within a point in the last 15 min­utes when winger Ju­lian Savea scored a late try.

The vis­i­tors searched des­per­ately for a late score, but winger Mar­shall drib­bled a kick to the left cor­ner in the fi­nal min­utes and bolted half the length of the field to touch it down be­hind the try­line.

Zac Guild­ford and Andy El­lis scored the two early tries for the Cru­saders, who en­joyed good ser­vice from in-form fly­half Dan Carter but may hope livewire cap­tain Richie McCaw can slot back into the team for the play­offs af­ter a long sab­bat­i­cal.

Carter kicked two penal­ties and two con­ver­sions to add 10 points.

Vic­tor Vito and Brad Shields scored early tries to keep the Hur­ri­canes in touch. – Reuters Scor­ers: CRU­SADERS. Tries: Zac Guild­ford, Andy El­lis, Tom Mar­shall. Con­ver­sions: Dan Carter (2). Penal­ties: Carter (2) HUR­RI­CANES. Tries: Vic­tor Vito, Brad Shields, Ju­lian Savea. Con­ver­sion: An­dre Tay­lor

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