The Crusaders proved too strong for the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday as they won the second Super Rugby semifinal 29-10, setting up a final meeting with the Reds in Brisbane next weekend.
On paper the Crusaders always looked the stronger side, but the long haul over from New Zealand and playing a knockout match last weekend perhaps lulled the Stormers into a false sense of security.
The visitors, now looking to achieve their eighth title, dominated the game and rarely looked threatened, so much so that the last quarter of the match was fairly dour. The Stormers, with their fantastic defensive record, conceded tries through and intercept, and a piece of Sonny Bill Williams magic. He had a fairly quiet game otherwise.
Dan Carter scored 19 points in total with his five penalties and two conversions. Richie McCaw said that he was proud of the team’s performance in the face of adversity.
“I am really proud of what the team achieved,” McCaw said. “We decided after the earthquakes to stand up for the people at home and that is what we did here. All the travel we have had to do was not fun, but you recover and gear up for a supreme effort come each match day. It was a great team effort with special praise for our tight five.”
For the Stormers, the loss of Schalk Burger didn’t help. He has since been rules out of the away leg of the upcoming Tri Nations after he had surgery on his dislocated thumb. He will be out for six to eight weeks.
The Crusaders now travel again, this time to Brisbane, to face the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium. That match takes place on Saturday.