Dan Carter was the more composed, clinical, and influential No 12 in Saturday's semi-final in Christchurch, writes JON CARDINELLI.
The Crusaders have found form late in the competition, and so too has their backline kingpin. In Saturday's clash, it was Carter's goal-kicking accuracy that allowed the Crusaders to build a substantial first-half lead. Carter's kicking out of hand also helped the Crusaders win the territorial battle, while his silky handling skills and vision were evident in the build-up to Nemani Nadolo's try.
Carter has proved an inspired selection at No 12, and has worked well in a 9-10-12 combination that includes Andy Ellis and Colin Slade. All three contributed in the semi-final, and would combine in the lead-up to Nadolo's try.
Carter showed terrific temperament in this do-or-die clash, and his contributions went a long way to securing victory for the Crusaders. The opposite could be said of Sharks No 12 Frans Steyn, who had a shocker of game with the boot and battled to impose himself in other areas.
Steyn came into this semi-final as one of the best players in the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament. Unfortunately for the Sharks, he was unable to replicate the accuracy that guided the Sharks to a win over the Highlanders in the qualifying play-off last week.
Steyn, as well as Sharks halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie, made some costly errors in Christchurch. His line kicking was poor, and he was also guilty of missing touch when the Sharks had won a penalty. It was an atypical performance by a player who has been so consistent for the Sharks in 2014.
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