26 Jun 2011

Crusaders beat Sharks, Reds to play Blues

9:48 am on 26 June 2011

The Crusaders are shrugging off any concerns at their gruelling travel schedule after booking an impressive 10th straight Super Rugby semi-final.

The Sharks were sent packing 36-8 in Nelson in Saturday night's sudden-death qualifier and the Crusaders fly out on Sunday to face another South African side, the Stormers, in Cape Town next weekend.

The Crusaders have clocked up more than 80-thousand kilometres in their earthquake-affected season - so coach Todd Blackadder doesn't think the long haul will be a problem.

They outscored the Sharks three tries to one with the game turning on a runaway intercept try by captain Kieran Read midway through the second half from which the Sharks never recovered.

Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Read and Ben Franks all crossed the line for the Crusaders, while Dan Carter kicked 19 points.

The result means the table-topping Reds will host the Blues in the other semi after the Auckland side knocked out the New South Wales Waratahs 26-13 on Friday night.

The Crusaders, homeless thanks to the Christchurch earthquake, are chasing an eighth Super rugby title.