Crusaders 14 Stormers 42

The Crusaders' Super 14 rugby playoff hopes received another blow as they were brushed aside 42-14 by a rampant Stormers side in Cape Town today.

The Stormers scored three tries - all in the second half including a Jaque Fourie double - to the Crusaders' two, while first five-eighth Peter Grant booted seven penalties in his 27-point haul before a near-full house at Newlands.

It moved the Stormers within one point of competition leaders the Bulls and completed a clean sweep of victories over the five New Zealand sides in 2010.

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It was back-to-back defeats for the Crusaders who face the daunting challenge of the Bulls in Pretoria next weekend and will slip to fourth if the Reds take any points out of their match against the Brumbies tonight.

The visitors had only scraps of possession and were penalised heavily by Australian referee Stu Dickinson for repeated breakdown infringements.

It saw All Black Kieran Read sinbinned on the stroke of halftime and captain Richie McCaw, in his 100th Super rugby match, clearly frustrated at some rulings.

Injuries also hit the Crusaders, with hooker Corey Flynn departing in the 20th minute with what appeared a quadriceps problem while in-form halfback Kahn Fotuali'i (knee) followed just after the break.

The Stormers led 12-7 after a first half dominated by Dickinson's whistle as the visitors had to do a power of defending.

Dickinson was incensed with the Crusaders' apparent tactics of slowing the ball at the breakdown and presented the Stormers with 11 penalties or free kicks in the first 40 minutes.

Six of those were in kicking range for Grant and he goaled four, with another attempt hitting the post.

After two early Grant penalties, the Crusaders stunned the hosts with the opening try when Carter charged down an attempted left-foot clearance by Grant and strolled over.

Matchwinner Carter had an indifferent time in general play, kicking out on the full twice and also missing touch from a penalty.

There were few other first half chances for the Crusaders who were dealt a heavy blow when Read was marched by Dickinson.

The Stormers controlled possession expertly and built their phases as they punished the visitors when Springboks centre Fourie carved through on a 40m burst to score with Read still absent.

Grant booted three more penalties to make it safe at 28-7 as the Crusaders still struggled for scoring chances and began to fall off tackles and make handling errors.

Their woes were summed up when Chris Jack was bundled out in the left-hand corner and Sean Maitland knocked on over the line.

Two Stormers tries in the final 10min, to Fourie and winger Sireli Naqelevuki, blew out the margin while Colin Slade got a consolation for the visitors on a night to forget.

Grant converted both late tries to end with an impressive 10 from 12 from the kicking tee.

- NZPA