Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2014 01:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Crusaders snare Cheetahs with four-try finish

Canterbury Crusaders scored four last-quarter tries to defeat Central Cheetahs 52-31 Saturday after a see-saw Super 15 struggle in Bloemfontein.

Crusaders snare Cheetahs with four-try finish

Kieran Read passes the ball on November 9, 2013 - by Franck Fife

It was the first clean sweep by the New Zealanders in South Africa since 2008 after comfortably overcoming the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

And it was the first victory by the record seven-time Super Rugby champions over the Cheetahs since 2007 in the republic.

Victory lifted the Crusaders five places to seventh and into the hunt for a top-six finish and a play-off spot in the southern hemisphere provincial championship.

Cheetahs have the worst defence of the 15 teams -- conceding 303 points in eight matches -- and remain second last with a bonus point the sole crumb of comfort.

"That was a job well done and we must build on it," said Crusaders skipper and No. 8 Kieran Read, back after missing the Johannesburg triumph through injury.

"A combination of brilliance and tiredness contributed to eight second-half tries and we got ourselves out of  trouble after trailing with 20 minutes left."

Cheetahs hooker and skipper Adriaan Strauss blamed poor discipline as his side slumped to a sixth loss in eight games this season after reaching the 2013 play-offs.

"A lack of discipline put us under pressure in our half and that is fatal against a team like the Crusaders," he admitted.

"However, we are not panicking despite a poor season so far. Our aim is to play good rugby and the results will follow."

The major difference between the sides was at the breakdowns, where the technical superiority of the visitors won them many turnovers.

Fly-half Colin Slade top scored for the Canterbury side with 25 points from a try, four conversions and four penalties.

Left-wing Nemani Nadolo snatched a hat-trick of tries to follow in the footsteps of Western Force star Nick Cummins in Australia earlier Saturday.

Tries by full-back Israel Dagg and replacement back Tom Taylor and a conversion from replacement fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal completed the Crusaders' biggest score this season.

Cheetahs suffered early blows, losing fly-half Johan Goosen temporarily after four minutes with concussion and permanently before the end of the first quarter as he failed to recover.

Replacement playmaker Elgar Watts converted tries by right-wing Cornal Hendricks, scrum-half Sarel Pretorius, replacement lock Teboho Mohoje and full-back Willie le Roux and kicked a penalty.

Crusaders were first to score through a Slade penalty, then fell four points behind before building a 19-10 half-time lead.

Nadolo, a 125-kilogram giant, scored his first try just 27 seconds into the second half and Slade converted for a 16-point advantage.

But a 10-minute purple patch by the home side delivered three converted tries and a 31-26 lead before the Crusaders regained control.

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