25 Apr 2010

Crusaders lose first game on road trip - and first ever to Force

7:09 am on 25 April 2010

The Crusaders have lost to the Western Force for the first time, going down 24-16 in Perth and relinquishing top spot on the Super 14 rugby table.

The Crusaders led 13-0 at half-time but could only score a penalty in the second half as the Force ran in three tries to seal a famous victory over the perennial contenders from Christchurch.

It's a poor start to a tough three-game road trip for the Crusaders, who next take on the Stormers in Cape Town before visiting fellow top four contenders from South Africa, the Bulls.

The Stormers are now top of the Super 14, despite losing 16-13 to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane in a dour defensive game that cost one punter $420,000.

The unfortunate individual placed a bet for that amount on the high-flying Stormers to win. All they could manage was a losing bonus point.

It's the Reds' third straight win and lifted them level with the Stormers, Crusaders and Bulls on 34 points - until the Bulls thrashed bottom side the Lions on Sunday morning.