The Queensland Reds will face the seven-time champion Canterbury Crusaders in next week’s Super Rugby final.
Australia’s Reds secured home advantage for the July 9 championship game in Brisbane by beating the Auckland Blues 30-13 yesterday. New Zealand’s Crusaders defeated the Stormers 29-10 in Cape Town in the other semifinal.
The Crusaders will have to win one final away game to extend their title record in southern hemisphere rugby’s elite provincial competition. They’ve played on the road all season, including taking one home game to London, after Christchurch’s AMI Stadium was damaged in the Feb. 22 earthquake that killed more than 180 people in New Zealand’s second-biggest city.
Sean Maitland and Robert Fruean scored tries for the Crusaders, while Dan Carter kicked five penalties and two conversions. Brian Habana touched down for the Stormers.
The Reds, who topped the regular-season standings, are seeking their first Super Rugby championship. Queensland won back-to-back Super 10 titles before the sport went professional in 1995.
Rod Davies touched down three times as the Reds outscored the Blues four tries to one. Ben Tapuai also scored a try and Quade Cooper kicked 10 points.
The competition this year split into Australian, New Zealand and South African conferences and added the Melbourne Rebels as the 15th franchise.