The Western Force upset the Crusaders with a historic 16-14 victory in Round 9 of Super Rugby in Perth. The Force tackled their way to the win, but the game ended controversially as pitch invaders intervened at a crucial time.
It was the Force’s best defensive effort of the season as they held out the Crusaders, who appeared to dominate proceedings and launch multiple attacks but couldn’t breach the determined defence.
They came back from 16-8 down in the second half and looked likely to take the lead but the Force maintained their composure, pulling off numerous trysaving tackles.
Late in the game the Crusaders were yet again on attack, but a pitch invasion killed off that momentum, as five spectators thought it would be fun to take to the field.
Crusaders back Ryan Crotty tackled one, while forwards coach and former All Black Dave Hewett grabbed another. Five men were taken into custody but there have been complaints from the Crusaders, who feel that stadium security didn’t do their job.
“It was disgraceful and unacceptable in our view and needs investigating,” said Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach. “To have four or five people on the ground and to have security staff unable to manage it is an issue.
Coach Todd Blackadder echoed the sentiment, saying that is was a farcical end to the match.
“It was obviously a really key moment. We got a turnover and we would have counter-attacked and it was about five-on-one. It’s poor, it shouldn’t happen at this level. The crowd needs to be more discplined. It ruined a good game of footy,” he said.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said that there was a reasonable amount of security to monitor the 16 000 fans. “We understand there was about 90 security guards and these idiots were able to invade the pitch. In this instance it was a complete failure, that’s what needs investigating.
“It was extremely disappointing and unacceptable behaviour from a small group of idiots in what was otherwise a very good crowd. It’s not something we want to see in the game.”
Ironically, it’s been reported that the men involved in the Perth pitch invasion are actually Crusaders fans, and there were 25 of them that planned, or attempted, to take to the field.
Peters said that they would be investigating a full report from the Western Force.
On a more positive note, below is a compilation from the Force that shows some of the outstanding tackling that took place as they cut down the seven times champions.
Note: The quality of the video is as incoming