Crusaders hold off Highlanders

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iol spt may 24 crusaders REUTERS File photo: The Canterbury Crusaders hung on for a pulsating 32-30 win.

Dunedin - Otago Highlanders winger Patrick Osborne was denied a try with the final play as the Canterbury Crusaders hung on for a pulsating 32-30 win in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby clash in Dunedin on Saturday.

While being tackled by Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg, Osborne was deemed to have grounded the ball on the sideline and tryline at the same time in the 80th minute by television match official Vinny Munro, much to the anger of the home fans.

Osborne and hooker Ged Robinson had scored first half tries to put the hosts in front 12-10 at halftime but the Crusaders stormed back with five pointers from props Tim Perry and Nepo Laulala and winger Nemani Nadolo to lead 29-18.

Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith cut the deficit with late tries to grab bonus points for the hosts, battling the Crusaders and Waikato Chiefs for top spot in the New Zealand conference, after the feisty clash where even referee Glen Jackson suffered a cut cheek after an accidental collision with a player. - Reuters



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