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Crusaders outplay Bulls for third straight victory

FLYHALF Stephen Brett contributed 11 points as Canterbury beat South Africa's Bulls 16-13 yesterday for the Crusaders' third straight win in rugby's Super 14.

Brett converted the Crusaders' only try, and added two penalties and a drop goal to steer his team home in a match between former champions.

Winger Akona Ndungane scored two tries for the Bulls, the 2007 champions, but Brett's kicking contribution was enough to lift the Crusaders, the 2008 winners, to a narrow win.

"It was a really tough game," Canterbury captain Kieran Read said. "The Bulls really brought it to us, especially in the second half.

"We won the territorial battle in the first half but didn't really take our chances, so it was good to grind it out at the end."

The Crusaders led from the fifth minute when lock Isaac Ross crossed for their only try. Brett's first penalty gave the Crusaders a 10-0 lead, but Ndungane cut the lead to 10-5 with his first of the two tries scored on either side of halftime.

Brett landed a close-range drop goal in the fifth minute of the second half to increase the Crusaders' margin to 13-5 before Ndungane's second try cut the lead back to 13-10.

Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn tied the score with a 59th-minute penalty but Brett's last goal, 15 minutes from fulltime, re-established the Crusaders' lead.

In the Rugby Sevens, South Africa scored a 28-7 win over the Cook Islands on the opening night of the Adelaide Sevens, the sixth of eight stops on the International Rugby Board's Sevens World Series.

South Africa went into the three-day tournament with 84 points in the series, 16 better than second-place England. The English side didn't help its chances of keeping pace with the South Africans by losing its opening match 21-17 to Australia.

New Zealand, which lost in the Adelaide final last year to South Africa, beat Wales 24-10. Elsewhere, Kenya beat Japan 12-5, the United States defeated Tonga 17-14, and Fiji, which beat South Africa 26-24 for its record 12th Hong Kong Sevens title last weekend, beat Scotland 33-7.

Argentina beat France 14-7 and Samoa defeated Portugal 26-5 yesterday's opening eight matches.


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