30 May 2011

Reds pip Crusaders in Brisbane

5:59 am on 30 May 2011

Quade Cooper booted a last-minute penalty to allow the table-topping Queensland Reds to snatch a 17-16 victory over seven-time champion Crusaders in a pulsating Super rugby tie in Brisbane.

Captain Richie McCaw was penalised for using his hands in a ruck deep in Crusaders' territory, directly in front of the posts, and the Reds and Wallabies first five nervelessly split the middle to the delight of a parochial crowd of 48,000 at Suncorp Stadium.

In a match billed as a World Cup preview between New Zealand and Australia's chief playmakers, Dan Carter had the measure of counterpart Cooper for much of the match, and booted two late penalties to put the Crusaders two points ahead with seven minutes left.

However, Cooper had the final say, slotting home the winning kick seconds before the hooter after missing all three of his previous penalty attempts.

McCaw, whose side was punished by Australian referee Stu Dickinson for ill-discipline throughout, was left to rue his lapse that ultimately cost his side the match.

The result firms Queensland's position at top of the standings and leaves the Crusaders fourth on the table, well in contention for a playoff berth with three rounds of the regular season remaining.