28 Mar 2011

Crusaders beat Sharks at Twickenham

11:18 am on 28 March 2011

The Crusaders have beaten the Sharks 44-28 in their Super Rugby clash at Twickenham in London.

In the first Super Rugby game played to be played in the northern hemisphere, the New Zealand team led 34-18 against the South Africans at half-time.

The game was moved to Twickenham after the Crusaders' home ground, AMI Stadium in Christchurch, was damaged in a powerful earthquake on 22 February.

Both teams produced a spectacular exhibition for the 35,000-strong crowd, which produced 52 points in the first half.

The Sharks closed the gap to nine points at one stage in the second half, but the Crusaders took charge in the final quarter.

First five-eighth Daniel Carter scored 22 points, including a try. Sean Maitland scored two tries, while Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford scored a try each. The Sharks scored four tries.

The Crusaders played the last 10 minutes of the match with only 14 men after a number of injuries to players including Carter and captain Kieran Read.

The bonus point win moves the Crusaders to the top of the New Zealand conference, just ahead of the Blues, and equal with the Queensland Reds at the top of the overall competition standings.

The Crusaders have a bye next week.

Money for quake fund

Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Hamish Riach says the Twickenham game made it some money, but it will not be the icing on the cake.

Mr Riach say money made from the game was not as much as first thought. He says the union was hoping for crowds of up to 55,000, but it broke even when ticket sales topped 30,000.

About $11 from each ticket for the match will be donated to the Red Cross quake appeal, totalling about $NZ373,250.