24 Jan 2009

Crusaders start post Deans era with a win

8:41 am on 24 January 2009

Defending Super 14 champions the Crusaders have started life after Robbie Deans and Dan Carter in winning fashion, beating the Western Force 24-19 in Perth.

In front of a sellout crowd of almost 18,000, the Force conceded the first try of the match but looked on course for victory when they posted three unanswered tries to race out to a 19-5 lead inside 35 minutes.

But the Crusaders hit back with a vengeance, notching three unanswered tries of their own before holding off a determined Force outfit in a frantic final 10 minutes to secure the win.

The Force entered the match without Wallabies Nathan Sharpe, Matt Giteau, Ryan Cross and James O'Connor, while the Crusaders All Blacks contingent of Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Brad Thorn and Ross Filipo were also rested.