Classy Crusaders slay Stormers

The Crusaders deservedly won at Newlands for a third successive time.

The visitors triumphed 19-14 after the Stormers led 11-nil midway through the first half.

The Stormers attacked the Crusaders tryline in the final three minutes but found no way through a defensive structure that had not been made to work for much of the game.

The attack was frantic but the defence was dominant and had the Stormers stolen a victory it would have been an injustice.

I had the Stormers to win – and win comfortably. The Crusaders were without Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Israel Dagg and of course there is no Richie McCaw until after June. They then lost All Blacks prop Owen Franks within 20 minutes but it did not appear to hamper the visitors and they were the stronger team throughout.

The Crusaders had control for most of the match but were helped by a charitable Stormers lineout and set piece that never found the form of a week ago, when the Stormers beat the Brumbies.

The Cape Crusaders supporters will rightfully be cheering all Easter. I had them to be in tears but then I never banked on Andries Bekker and hooker Deon Fourie failing to find each other on six occasions.

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock was superb in the set piece and a difficult wind, coupled by the Stormers insistence to go long in the lineout, played into Whitelock’s grateful hands.

The Crusaders started well, then the Stormers hit back with 11 points within 15 minutes, but thereafter it was all the Crusaders until the final three minutes.

Bekker, outstanding against the Brumbies, was off his lineout game in front of 48 000, and for the Stormers to be effective Bekker has to be ruling the lineout. This was not the case and it was a night in which (Sam) Whitelock outplayed his Bok foe.

It was a night in which the Crusaders, by the man, were better than the Stormers.

Flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal was named man of the match for the manner in which he controlled proceedings. The young flyhalf kicked brilliantly to the corners, played the percentages to perfection and was accurate in his goal kicking.

The Crusaders, the only team with a historical 50 percent away record in the tournament, have now won six of 10 matches against the Stormers at Newlands.

And the latest one was as comprehensive as any, despite the five points differential.