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Crusaders first half deals to Hurricanes

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Sportal.co.nz     21 Apr 2012     Getty Images

Carter was one of five try-scorers for the visitors who dominated the game from the opening whistle.

Heading into the game much had been talked about the match-ups between Tom Taylor and Beauden Barrett and Israel Dagg and Andre Taylor and it was the men in red and black who came out on top.

While Barrett and Andre Taylor struggled with their kicking game and were unable to reproduce the form that had put the Sharks to the sword two weeks ago, Tom Taylor was as assured at ever in the Crusaders No.10 jersey and Dagg rediscovered some of his form to dot down for tries either side of the break.

Kieran Read, Carter, Robbie Fruean and Dagg all crossed before the break and the fullback chimed in with another one in the second half as well. Tom Taylor missed just two kick to add 17 points with the boot.

The Hurricanes' tries came from Andre Taylor and Victor Vito, who got through a mountain of work on his return from a calf injury.

But the home side suffered a late set-back with wingers Cory Jane (ankle) and Julian Savea (illness) both ruled out and replaced by Alapati Leiua and Richard Buckman.

Jane's presence was sorely missed and the Crusaders led 32-7 and had wrapped up the try-scoring bonus point by the break.

They punished some poor, aimless kicking by Barrett and Andre Taylor and totally dominated the scrums, which laid the platform for Read's opener.

The All Black No.8 was back to his dynamic best and raced in by the posts in the fourth minute after a great inside ball from Taylor.

Andre Taylor and Barrett both missed penalty chances for the Hurricanes and it was a Tom Taylor penalty that stretched the Crusaders' lead to 10-0 with 20 minutes gone.

A poor up-and-under from Barrett resulted in a try for Carter after Dagg broke a couple of tackles.

Another terrible kick by Andre Taylor ended with Fruean fending off Chris Eaton, stepping Buckman and racing in for the Crusaders' third try on the half-hour and Tom Taylor's third successful conversion left the visitors cruising at 27-0.

The Hurricanes thought they had got on the board with six minutes of the first half left but referee Craig Joubert spotted a forward pass from Barrett to Buckman and Leiua, who was one of the Hurricanes' most potent attackers, was denied.

But the officials were not so eagle-eyed in the build-up to Dagg's first try when two forward passes were missed and the All Black fullback dived over in the corner.

Andre Taylor scored another good individual try, ghosting past George Whitelock and round Dagg, on the stroke of half-time to finally get the Hurricanes on the board.

Mark Hammett's side started the second half strongly and although the Crusaders initially kept their line intact they didn't react quick enough when Joubert awarded the home side a penalty and Vito took the quick tap to drive through Ben Franks to score.

But at 32-14 it was the closest the Hurricanes got.

While they enjoyed a greater share of the possession than in the opening spell simple errors and ill-discipline ensured they could not make the most of it and it was Tom Taylor's conversion of Dagg's second try in the 62nd minute that proved to be the final scoring act of the match.

Scorers: Hurricanes 14 (Andre Taylor, Victor Vito tries; Beauden Barrett 2 con) Crusaders 42 (Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Robbie Fruean, Israel Dagg 2 tries; Tom Taylor 4 con, 3 pen). HT: 7-32