Rugby-Cooper's late penalty punishes sloppy Crusaders


Sun, 29 May 09:11:00 2011

Quade Cooper booted a last-minute penalty to allow the table-topping Queensland Reds to snatch a 17-16 victory over seven-time champions the Canterbury Crusaders in a pulsating Super rugby tie in Brisbane on Sunday.

Canterbury captain Richie McCaw was penalised for a ruck infringement in Crusaders' territory, directly in front of the posts, and the Reds flyhalf nervelessly split the middle to the delight of a parochial crowd of more than 48,000 at Lang Park.

In a match billed as a World Cup preview between New Zealand and Australia's chief playmakers, Dan Carter had the measure of counterpart Cooper for much of the match, and booted two late penalties to put the Crusaders two points ahead with seven minutes left.

However, Cooper had the final say, slotting home the winning kick seconds before the hooter after missing all three of his previous penalty attempts.

The result firms Queensland's position at top of the standings and leaves the Crusaders fourth in the table, well in contention for a playoff berth but eight points behind the Reds with three rounds of the regular season remaining.

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