1 May 2010

Stormers thrash Crusaders to put finals in doubt

7:08 am on 1 May 2010

The Stormers have become the first South African Super Rugby side to complete a clean sweep of wins over New Zealand teams in a season, after thrashing the Crusaders 42-14 in Cape Town.

In a match the Crusaders needed to win to maintain momentum for a playoffs place after losing to the Western Force last weekend, a second half try to Colin Slade to match Dan Carter's seven-pointer in the first half was all the visitors could manage.

All of the South Africans' 12-7 lead at the break came from the boot of Peter Grant.

After their surprise loss in Perth last week, the Crusaders needed to beat the second-placed Stormers as well as the front-running Bulls next week in Pretoria to remain in contention for the top four.

On Friday night the Highlanders put a major dent in the New South Wales Waratahs' finals hopes with a 26-10 upset in Invercargill.

In a match played in nearly constant rain, gusting wind and single-figure temperatures, the Highlanders scored first and were never headed in the 16-point win.

It was 12-10 to the home side at half-time.

Despite starting the night in fifth place, just a point and one place behind old rivals the Queensland Reds, the Waratahs rarely threatened the 12th-placed Highlanders, whose finals hopes are long gone.

Israel Dagg again put his hand up for an All Blacks place in a game largely dominated by the forwards, the fullback making two breaks that ultimately led to tries to All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson.

The Waratahs must now win their two remaining games away to the Chiefs and at home to the Hurricanes and hope other results go their way.