September 24 2017, updated 4:16am

Crusaders clean out Canes to host final (+pics)

Last updated 20:31 24/05/2008
LONG FACE: A dejected Jason Eaton walks from the field after his side was beaten in the Super 14 semifinals.

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The Crusaders have put up a clinical performance to comprehensively beat the Hurricanes in their Super 14 semifinal in Christchurch.

They ran in three tries and with Dan Carter adding 18 points with his boot, they ran out 33-22 winners.

Two late tries helped the Hurricanes gain some consolation on the scoreboard but in reality they were well and truly outplayed for long periods of the match.

The Crusaders will now host next weekend's final at AMI Stadium against the Waratahs who beat the Sharks 28-13 in Sydney last night and have the opportunity to give master coach Robbie Deans the perfect send-off as they search for their seventh title.

Zac Guildford scored an early try for the Hurricanes but that was quickly cancelled out by two penalties to  Carter for the Crusaders.

Piri Weepu landed a penalty for the visitors after Brad Thorn infringed with a high tackle on Ma'a Nonu seven minutes before the break.

But there was enough time left for the Crusaders to finally capitalise on their massive advantage in territory and possession to get fullback Leon MacDonald over for a try handy to the posts to give the Crusaders a 13-8 lead at halftime.

MacDonald got another try soon after the restart and hard-working loose forward Kieran Read got a powerful try before he made way for Reuben Thorne to become New Zealand's most capped Super rugby player.

The Canes got another charge down try when Stephen Brett erred with a clearing kick in the 75th minute and Canes lock Jeremy Thrush pounced on the ball for the try.

They then had the final say when replacement prop Neemia Tialata crashed over after the final whistle. Jerry Collins stepped up to land a symbolic conversion to end the match.

A pretty satisfied McCaw said it was never easy to play the Hurricanes but his side had capitalised on their chances after locking the match up defensively by not allowing them to get too much going apart at the end.

"We knew if we put the pressure on and scored early in the second half we would do the business," he said.

The Crusaders' kicking game had been on song unlike the last couple of games - coach Robbies Deans had laid it down in training this week and the team had responded.

Hurricanes hooker Andrew Hore, who stood in for So'oialo, said the team had expended a lot of energy on defence in the first half and had not used the little ball they got wisely.

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"The late tries showed what we could do if we got the ball.

"We let ourselves down a bit, we spent a lot of energy defending for 60 minutes but we showed we can score tries and a bit of character tonight," Hore said.

The Crusaders will play the Waratahs in the final.

Crusaders 33: Tries: Leon MacDonald (2), Kieran Read. Pens: Dan Carter (4). Cons: Carter (3).

Hurricanes 22: Tries: Zac Guildford, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata. Pens: Piri Weepu. Cons: Jimmy Gopperth, Jerry Collins.

-with NZPA

- Rugbyheaven

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