Crusaders end Stormers' winning run
Saturday, April 14, 2012 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
From the result post-scrum play, a penalty was conceded by the Stormers and it was Taylor who stepped up to land his eighth penalty goal
It was a sterling contest, high on defensive pressure from both teams in a physical contest it is unlikely to be the last time they meet this season.
Taylor's choice at first five ahead of Dan Carter, who was outside him, paid early an dividend when his support play ,after a turnover achieved at a ruck by prop Ben Franks, allowed fullback Israel Dagg to gain space on the outside where No.8 Kieran Read and hooker Corey Flynn set up ball for Taylor inside to score.
Four penalties also from Taylor's boot kept the pressure on the visitors in the first half. They responded with a try of their own after a poor choice of pass by Carter to centre Robbie Fruean. The ball was blocked and in the resulting play it was Stormers centre Juan de Jongh who toed the ball ahead to win the race to the touchdown.
With the earlier penalty goal kicker Peter Grant off for a blood bin injury, Joe Pietersen landed the conversion and a penalty goal.
The Stormers suffered a ninth minute loss when lock Andries Bekker left the field with a lower back injury while Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett spent the 10 minutes before halftime in the sin-bin as the result of a high tackle ruling.
While Pietersen struck the first blow with a penalty goal in the second half, a strong break, and infield kick by wing Sean Maitland created a five-metre scrum but the home team were unable to capitalise with replacement lock Luke Romano dropping the ball.
Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg had a powerful game in the tight exchanges and with the ball in hand, prop Brok Harris had a fascinating battle with the Canterbury front row while No.8 Duane Vermeulen stepped up in the absence of Bekker in the lineouts and was powerful in the loose.
Ineffectual kicking was Dagg's problem on the night and it was a 58th minute effort, which followed a period of sustained assault which the Crusaders absorbed, the threatened to upset the evening. The ill-directed kick allowed the Stormers to burst back onto attack and a cleverly weighted kick to his outsides by halfback Dewaldt Duvenage created the chance which wing Bryan Habana was never going to miss.
Pietersen missed the conversion from the sideline which left them trailing 21-22 with 20 minutes remaining.
Taylor landed his sixth penalty goal in the 66th minute and the Stormers lost loose forward Rynhardt Elstadt, who had moved to lock to cover for Bekker, was sin-binned for a high tackle.
But two more chances followed and Taylor put the issue beyond doubt with the final interest centring on whether the Stormers could claim a bonus point. That chance came two minutes after the final siren when Grant did the business with a penalty goal to end the game.
Scorers: Crusaders 31 (Tom Taylor try, con, 8 pen) Stormers 24 (Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana tries; Joe Pietersen con, 2 pen; Peter Grant 2 pen). HT: 19-13
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