The Southern Kings first try overseas in Super Rugby was scored by Wimpie van der Walt (converted by Catrakilis) at the end of a bruising first half which saw the Crusaders lead the Kings 31-13 at half time.
Once again the Kings were forced to defend as the Crusaders attacked the centre again and again to force their way through the Kings defence.
All Black Dan Carter kicked 16 points and was replaced in the 51st minute to start his maternity leave as he is expecting his first child and will not travel with the rest of the team to South Africa.
The Crusaders outscored the Kings by 7 tries to 2 which takes them to 17 tries in total for the season which is one behind the leading try scoring team the Chiefs.
The Southern Kings will continue their New Zealand tour when they meet the Hurricanes on Saturday 30 March in Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.
“The guys played bravely. The Crusaders are a very good side. They have five guys in their starting fifteen that are All Blacks… playing guys like[Daniel] Carter and [Kieran] Read who are probably the best in their positions in the world, and [George] Whitelock is pretty close to that, as is [Owen] Franks,” said Director of Rugby Alan Solomons after today’s game.
“So you know, we were up against it and I thought the guys did really, really well. Obviously it was made difficult by the travel, but we’re not making any excuses about it,” continued Solomons.
Solomons said he was happy with the determination shown by the players and was impressed with the leadership shown by Schalk Ferreira; “We stuck to the task and at the end of both halves we got a try and I think the guys have learnt a massive amount in playing in consecutive weeks probably the entire, or close to all of the All Black side. A lot of experience was gained, and we must just take this forward now and obviously we’re settling in and look forward to the Hurricanes game next week.”
Head Coach, Matt Sexton, also commended the players for their determination and heart; “I think we got a little bit of a lesson in possession, momentum and a couple of other things, but in saying that though the one pleasing aspect of the game was again the character shown by the boys. They certainly put on an 80 minute performance; they played with heart and character.”
Sexton said the Crusaders had once again shown they were a classy side to play against at home; “It was a truly international team that we came up against and they were pretty hungry to get four points and put us to the sword, so to speak. It was a tough game and we’ve had a bit of a disruptive week obviously, with things, but no excuses.
Sexton was happy with the overall performance of the team though, and praised them for the fitness they had shown; “A lot of credit has to go to our conditioning team, Johan [Pretorius] and Steve [McIntyre], who prepared the guys fantastically well, they were still going in their 80th minute after all the travel and stuff that we’ve had.”
Solomons said while they were happy with the defense, particularly in the second half, they would be looking at ball turnover and possession going into the game against the Hurricanes; “We shut them down a little bit quicker in the second half but I think one of our biggest problems we had in the game, was we turned over too much ball.
“There was just far too much, both from general play and we turned over a few from set piece… but general play we just turned over too much ball. And when you turn over the ball, you just don’t have it for ten minutes. So that was a valuable lesson to be learnt.
“The things we have to work on is the value of possession. We have to cut our error rate,” continued Solomons.
In respect to injuries, Solomons said the team had escaped relatively unscathed from the encounter with the Crusaders; “We have actually come out fairly unscathed out of this game. There is no one we’re concerned about,” he said.
Solomons said Andries Strauss, Steven Sykes and Hanness Franklin, all of whom had missed out the game due to injury, were on the mend and would, most likely, be available for consideration for next week’s game.
“The Hurricanes are a tremendous side and will compete for a playoff position, and it will be a massive challenge for us. I think having guys like Sykes and Strauss coming back will make a huge difference. They are experienced rugby players and they add value in both their experience and leadership,” he concluded.
See a video of the highlights of the game below:
Final Score Crusaders 55 (31) Kings 20 (13)
- Crusaders: Tries – George Whitelock 3, Wyatt Crockett, Willi Heinz, Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock. Penalties – Dan Carter (2), Conversions – Dan Carter 4, Tyler Bleyendaal (2)
- Kings: Tries – Wimpie van der Walt, George Whitehead. Penalties – Demetri Catrakilis (2), Conversions – Demetri Catrakilis 2
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/03/southern-kings-20-crusaders-55/