Watch: Crusaders execute textbook counter-attack off Sharks' lineout to score thanks to Ryan Crotty's barnstorming run

The Crusaders have swatted aside a gritty challenge from the Sharks 40-10 to set up a mouth-watering Super Rugby semi-final against the Hurricanes.

Despite failing to play their best rugby in Christchurch tonight, the defending champion Crusaders were always in control in their quarter-final.

By snaring a 13th successive win they took a step closer to their ninth title.

However, a stiffer challenge awaits in Christchurch next week against a Hurricanes side who showed signs of returning to their best in Friday's quarter- final defeat of the Chiefs.

The Crusaders will want to be better, spending chunks of the match inside their half, not helped by a faltering lineout display.

However, their defence was able to cope with most of what the Durban-based visitors threw at them, aside from when winger Kobus van Wyk scored following an extended period of Sharks dominance.

It left the Crusaders 16-7 ahead at halftime before a try soon after the break to Matt Todd boosted their buffer.

Reserves Braydon Ennor and Pete Samu bagged late tries as the Crusaders lived up to widespread predictions they'd win comfortably.

Ennor's introduction came following the departure of winger Seta Tamanivalu, who was knocked out momentarily when trying to stop van Wyk's try.

Earlier, the Crusaders suggested they'd romp to victory when halfback Bryn Hall and fullback David Havili crossed inside the first 12 minutes to put their team 13-0 up.

No South African franchise has ever won a finals game in New Zealand in 13 attempts.

Prop Tendai Mtawarira played his 150th game for the Sharks, who qualified in eighth spot, heading off the Melbourne Rebels on points differential.


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As it happened: Crusaders too good for Sharks as dominant second half leads to quarter-final win in Christchurch

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of this evening's Super Rugby quarter-final between the Crusaders and Sharks at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

FT: CRU 40-10 SHA

That does it for the second quarter-final. That penalty and try either side of the halftime hooter really hurt the Sharks and the Crusaders steamrolled them late to get the job done in typical fashion. Not the cleanest result but definitely one they'll be happy to use as a foundation for their playoff run. That does it for this game but stay tuned - we have the Highlanders and Waratahs coming up!

77min: CRU 40-10 SHA

And they turn it over with an overthrow. Summarises their night really. Costly errors at big times - can't do that against the Crusaders. Crusaders clear with a much better kick this time. Sharks lineout just inside the Crusaders' half.

76min: CRU 40-10 SHA

Sharks get a penalty and kick for touch. 5m lineout coming up.

74min: CRU 40-10 SHA

Sharks have a chance at redemption after the Crusaders clearance kick isn't that great. Sharks get a lineout on the Crusaders 22m to work with.

72min: CRU 40-10 SHA

CRU TRY! Salt in the wound as Samu dives in to score. Todd takes a quick tap on his 22m after the Crusaders earn a penalty and he links up with Whitelock. Whitelock tuns it halfway before connecting with Havili. Havili links with Hunt who then gives it on to Samu to finish. Too easy.

68min: CRU 33-10 SHA

CRU TRY! That'll do it and Ennor delivers the final nail in style. Sells a massive dummy 40m out and cuts back inside to run it in. Beautiful fake from the reserve. Time really against the Sharks now and that score doesn't help them. Even worse, Mo'unga slots his first one from the sideline to push it to 23 points.

65min: CRU 26-10 SHA

Once again, the Sharks launch an attack and make their way down to the Crusaders' 22m but their hands let them down again and there's a knock on. They've had seven handling errors tonight to the Crusaders' one. Crusaders scrum just inside their 22m.

61min: CRU 26-10 SHA

Crusaders earn a scrum on their 22m after the Sharks cough the ball up and look to attack down the blindside with Goodhue. He links up with Bridge and the young winger looks to kick ahead but it's off the side of his boot and out on the full. Sharks lineout on halfway.

59min: CRU 26-10 SHA

Hats off to the Crusaders defence. Sharks work away for 18 phases inside the Crusaders' 22m but the defence never breaks. Alaalatoa spots an opportunity and instigates a counterruck leading to a turnover. Mo'unga gets it and hoofs it downfield. Sharks lineout on halfway. Time starting to tick away here and the defence is looking good for the home side.

57min: CRU 26-10 SHA

CRU THREE! Sharks are pinged for being offside and Mo'unga pushes the lead out to three scores.

55min: CRU 23-10 SHA

Crusaders try a grubber off the scrum but overcook it and give the Sharks a 22m dropout. Crusaders run it back at the Sharks and Barrett makes a break. He powers into the Sharks' 22m before getting taken down. Looks to pop it up but a Sharks player gets a hand to it. Ball rolls free and the ref calls for a Crusaders scrum, saying there was a knock on by the Sharks there. Scrum packing down 20m from the Sharks' line again.

52min: CRU 23-10 SHA

Sharks lose the ball shortly after the scrum and the Crusaders counterattack through Ennor down the left wing. He stips inside one and sprints into the Sharks' 22m. He had support but tries to go himself and gets taken down. Tries an offload but it's loose and the Sharks look to intercept but there's a knock on. Crusaders scrum 20m from the Sharks' line.

51min: CRU 23-10 SHA

Ref gets in the way of the pass and has to come back for a scrum. It'll be a Sharks feed on halfway as they had control of the ball when it happened.

48min: CRU 23-10 SHA

SHA THREE! Sharks look reply through Du Preez after Taufua is penalised for hands in the ruck and he gets it.

45min: CRU 23-7 SHA

Sharks fly into the Crusaders' 22m after stealing the ball at the lineout. They shift the ball to right wing before getting taken down 15m out and there's a turnover. Bridge is the only one available to shift into the pocket so he does so and clears but it's not that great. Sharks lineout 20m from the Crusaders' line.

43min: CRU 23-7 SHA

CRU TRY! Crusaders strike through Todd! They rumble towards the Sharks' line before a cheeky offload sets up the loosie to bowl over and score. This all goes back to Mo'unga's previous play. Great strike by the Crusaders.

41min: CRU 16-7 SHA

Great start by Mo'unga. Sharks clear and the first-five brings it back from inside his half. Chips one over the top and chases it. Awkward bounce sees the Sharks forced to chase it into their 22m to recover and as they do Mo'unga arrives to make a tackle into touch. Huge play so early. Crusaders' lineout on the Sharks' 22m.

40min: CRU 16-7 SHA

Mo'unga gets it going again.

HT: CRU 16-7 SHA

CRU THREE! Mo'unga slots it as the hooter goes and pushes the lead back out past one converted try to wrap up the first 40. Strange half that. Sharks have definitely been their own biggest enemy but the Crusaders haven't been able to capitalise like they have during this winning streak. Still, they've got the lead and they've earned it. 40 more minutes of the same will see them host the Hurricanes next week. We'll be back soon to see if that comes to fruition.

39min: CRU 13-7 SHA

Crusaders look destined to score but it'll be a penalty instead. After 11 phases of play around halfway, Todd makes a break through the line and bursts into the Sharks' 22m. He looks to Havili for support but Havili is tackled without the ball. Ref plays advantage and as the Crusaders knock it on trying to recycle quickly, they come back for it. Sharks are lucky they didn't lose a man there.

35min: CRU 13-7 SHA

Both sides play the territory game with their kicks but the Crusaders win it handsomely as Havili finds space behind the Sharks and bounces it into touch. Sharks lineout just inside their 22m.

33min: CRU 13-7 SHA

Just confirming, Tamanivalu's night is over. He reportedly went unconscious in the contact so that's a red flag. On the field, the Sharks have a 22m dropout after they scrambled to get to a charged down kick in their in-goal.

30min: CRU 13-7 SHA

Tamanivalu's night may be over. He's come off after taking a head knock. Sharks have another lineout on the Crusaders 22m after the Crusaders turned the ball over and cleared for touch.

29min: CRU 13-7 SHA

Sharks keep the ball in hand after kick off and it's worked for them. They earn a penalty on halfway for hands in the ruck by the Crusaders so it's another kick for touch. Sharks lineout on the Crusaders' 22m coming up.

27min: CRU 13-7 SHA

SHA TRY! Sharks make an intercept off the back of the scrum and burst down the right wing into the Crusaders 22m. They come back to the left and there's numbers out on the left wing and the hands are good this time. Van Wyk is in to score.

24min: CRU 13-0 SHA

Sharks go to another maul in the lineout but Todd has come through and ripped it away. Crusaders clear and Sharks come back only to knock the ball on again. The Sharks' coach's box can't believe what they're seeing right now - we can't either, to be fair. Crusaders scrum just inside their half.

21min: CRU 13-0 SHA

YIKES! Sharks have numbers to the right and they fire it. Perfect pass by Du Preez and van Wyk has dropped it cold. He's lucky they had a penalty advantage for a collapsed maul but that was a freebie with no Crusaders near him. Sharks use the penalty to kick for touch again. Another 5m lineout.

20min: CRU 13-0 SHA

Sharks with another big attacking chance after the Crusaders hand over a penalty for not releasing. Sharks kick for touch and get a 5m lineout for their efforts. 

17min: CRU 13-0 SHA

Sharks earn a penalty at the scrum after an early shove by the Crusaders so they look to respond with three points from 20m out. However the penalty is off the posts! Shaky start gets even worse for the Sharks.

15min: CRU 13-0 SHA

Sharks look for a maul but it goes down. Pick and goes get them a few more metres but the ball comes lose in the tackle. Ref rules it was knocked on by the Crusaders when they stripped it so it's a Sharks scrum 15m from the Crusaders line.

14min: CRU 13-0 SHA

Sharks get their first attacking chance of the night as Mo'unga hacks a kick into touch after kickoff. It's only got 10m on it and it'll be a Sharks throw on the Crusaders' 22m.

13min: CRU 13-0 SHA

CRU TRY! The Crusaders are in again! They steal the ball at a lineout on halfway and again Crotty busts through the midfield. He flings it to Havili in support and the fullback finishes it off in the right corner. What a start for the hosts.

10min: CRU 8-0 SHA

CRU TRY! Crusaders go quickly off the top of the lineout to Crotty in the midfield. He bumps off one, keeps running. It takes three to get him down but he pops it up to Hall for a quick recycle. It's fired left with 40m to and Bridge burns down the left wing. One to beat, draws and passes to Hall and the halfback is in. 

8min: CRU 3-0 SHA

Early pressure seems to be getting to the Sharks. Schreuder's first box kick of the night has gone out on the full from halfway. We'll come all the way back for a Crusaders throw.

7min: CRU 3-0 SHA

CRU THREE! Crusaders work to the middle of the field for eight phases before the Sharks get too greedy and get penalised for hands in the ruck. Penalty is right in front and in quarter-finals rugby, too good to turn down. Mo'unga slots it from 20m out with ease. Crusaders take the early lead.

4min: CRU 0-0 SHA

And finally, the Crusaders make their mark. The Sharks' front row buckles in the scrum and the whistle goes. Mo'unga kicks for touch and gives the Crusaders a lineout on the Sharks' 22m.

3min: CRU 0-0 SHA

Scrum is looking sloppy early here. Three resets later, we're still waiting to get the ball in.

1min: CRU 0-0 SHA

Crusaders immediately clear after kickoff and it's worked perfectly. Sharks look to counterattack on the kick when it doesn't go out but bringing it back to the middle of the field, there's a knock on. Crusaders scrum just inside their half.

KICKOFF

Sharks get things underway in Christchurch!

The two teams last faced off in round five of the 2016 season.
Source: 1 NEWS

PREVIEW

After an electric contest between the Hurricanes and Chiefs last night, quarter-finals action heads south to Crusaders territory where the home side enter as heavy favourites in the 1 v 8 match-up.

To start with, coach Scott Robertson has made five changes from last week's big win over the Blues, naming 12 All Blacks in his starting XV for tonight's contest after Kieran Read was cleared to don the No.8 jersey with a thumb injury he picked up last week no longer hampering him.

Most of the moves bring in All Blacks, with Codie Taylor and Owen Franks back in the front row while Scott Barrett also comes back into the fold.

In the backs, Bryn Hall has been swapped in for Mitchell Drummond at halfback while David Havili replaces Israel Dagg at No.15 - Dagg has dropped out of the game day 23 altogether.

The Sharks have taken a different tact, naming a completely unchanged squad from last week's win over the Jaguares.

They'll also be inspired by Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira plays his 150th Super Rugby match for the Sharks tonight but ending a 12-game winning streak in Christchurch will remain a big ask.

The Crusaders are heavy favourites for their quarter-final match in Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

Franks told reporters last week they aren't taking the game lightly though - their first clash with the Sharks since round five in 2016.

"They are going to chuck everything at it, they're physical team and they'll try test us up front," said Franks.

"It's a good challenge for us and I'm looking forward to it."

The Crusaders prop said the Sharks will be a different challenge from their fellow South African counterparts.

"Really explosive attack and not so much typical African play, they chuck the ball around and have really good counter-attack.

"But they also got their big guys they play off as well and they have a good record against Kiwi teams this year so that has the hairs on the neck standing up."

TEAMS

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi


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'That's the beauty of rugby' - World Rugby admits rule clarity a current issue - but don’t expect huge changes

World Rugby concedes there are too many inconsistencies in the game's officiating.

The recent June Internationals window was met with outcry from coaches and players alike for contentious red cards and TMO blunders.

French fullback Benjamin Fall’s dismissal for his collision with Beauden Barrett was the most talked about moment of the All Blacks' series against France but it was only one of many head-scratching decisions during the international break.

A month later, World Rugby admits officiating hasn't been up to standard.

"We've all seen the June Tests and we all have been trying to cope with some of the inconsistencies and again it's not we don't hide from it, we’re just trying to make a simple solution," vice chairman Augustine Pichot said.

"So you change all the rules? That's not the way forward. We just have to be consistent all the time."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen took aim at the governing body during the series, calling on them to take ownership.

The game's bosses have met this week and will again tomorrow around the Sevens World Cup.

Pichot told 1 NEWS he wants technology to be reduced in TMO use.

"The game has to be refereed by the three guys on the pitch not by a computer - that's what I prefer and if he makes an error, that's the beauty about rugby.

"You can have an error and get on with it."


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