Highvelders too strong for Waratahs, Crusaders outplay Hurricanes
The Emirates Lions and the Crusaders will meet each other for the second successive year in the Vodacom Super Rugby Final, this time in Christchurch, after both teams won their home semi-final matches on Saturday.
The team from the Highveld scored six tries in their 44-26 triumph over the Waratahs after the sides were level 19-19 at halftime. In the earlier match of the day, the Crusaders outplayed the Hurricanes by 30-12 in Christchurch for their 14th win in a row.
It will be the third consecutive final appearance for the Johannesburg-based franchise and a repeat of last year’s showpiece which the Crusaders won 25-17 at Emirates Airlines Park. Next Saturday’s decider in New Zealand will be handled by Australian referee Angus Gardner and the kick off time is 09h35.
A powerful and dominant display by the Emirates Lions’ pack of forwards once more laid the foundation for a convincing home victory over the Sydney visitors, with flanker Kwagga Smith bagging the Man of the Match award for his outstanding display. The lively loose forward and the industrious Malcom Marx (hooker) both scored two tries each.
Warren Whiteley’s team scored six tries in total, with Springbok wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and replacement Courtnall Skosan also dotting down. Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) was on target with four conversions and two penalties.
It was the Waratahs who made the better start and led 14-0 after just nine minutes, however, the red and white jerseys came back strongly to tie the halftime score at 19-all. With their powerful pack providing plenty of quality possession, the Emirates Lions dominated the second half to clinch another cup final appearance.
However, the Waratahs never gave up and their persistence led to four tries scored by Ned Hanigan (flank), Tom Robertson (prop), Israel Folau (fullback) and Jake Gordon (replacement). Bernard Foley (flyhalf) slotted three conversions and one penalty.
The Crusaders went into the all-Kiwi clash as the firm favourites and the defending champions didn’t disappoint against the Hurricanes. Richie Mo’unga, George Bridge, David Havili and Braydon Ennor each scored a try for the winning side, while Julian Savea and Ben Lam crossed for the Hurricanes.
The weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final results:
Emirates Lions 44, Waratahs 26
Emirates Lions – Tries: Kwagga Smith (2), Malcolm Marx (2), Aphiwe Dyantyi, Courtnall Skosan; Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4); Penalties: Jantjies (2).
Waratahs – Tries: Ned Hanigan, Tom Robertson, Israel Folau, Jake Gordon; Conversions: Bernard Foley (3); Penalty: Foley.
Crusaders 30, Hurricanes 12
Crusaders – Tries: Richie Mo’unga, George Bridge, David Havili, Braydon Ennor; Conversions: Mo’unga (2); Penalties: Mo’unga (2).
Hurricanes – Tries: Julian Savea, Ben Lam; Conversion: Beauden Barrett.
2018 Vodacom Super Rugby Final
Saturday, 04 August
09h35: Crusaders vs Emirates Lions, AMI Stadium, Christchurch (NZ)