A mismatch always looked on the cards in Saturday’s contest between a team that finished top of the overall standings and the Sharks, who snuck into the final play-off spot on points difference.
And so it proved as the Crusaders pulled clear in the second half to move within a win of a second successive final.
The hosts ran in five tries to ensure they will welcome the Hurricanes to Christchurch next week for what promises to be an enticing meeting between the competition’s last two champions.
Bryn Hall and David Havili crossed in the first half for Crusaders, while Richie Mo’unga added two penalties, although Jacobus van Wyk’s try gave the Sharks hope.
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But Matt Todd went over for the Crusaders’ third shortly after the second-half restart, before Mo’unga and Robert du Preez traded penalties, and the last line of the Sharks defence was consistently challenged as the game threatened to turn into a rout.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 21, 2018
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