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March 24, 2017 8:58

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14:43 12 February 2017

Rugby: Crusaders end Panasonic's run at Brisbane 10s

BRISBANE, Australia, Feb. 12, Kyodo

Panasonic Wild Knights' run at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens came to an end in the quarterfinals Sunday as they lost 12-7 to the Crusaders.

On another sweltering hot day at Suncorp Stadium, the Wild Knights found out -- a day after beating two Australian sides -- that playing New Zealand teams was a lot harder, a lesson the Sunwolves will need to take on board in the upcoming Super Rugby competition.

Nonetheless head coach Robbie Deans was happy with the way the team played.

"They did themselves proud," he said. "It was a little frustrating in the last one that we couldn't get any momentum. But the experience will be great for them. It will broaden them and make them tougher."

The Wild Knights finished second in Pool A after opening the day with a 33-5 loss to the Chiefs.

Already assured of a spot in the quarterfinals after an earlier result went their way, and with the temperature 34C in the shade at 9 a.m., Deans opted to rest a number of his star players against a team that needed to win to advance.

The Chiefs were also playing on emotions following the death overnight of former teammate Sione Lauaki at the age of 35. And so it was no real surprise Dave Rennie's side came away with an easy win.

Taleni Seu, Tim Nanai Williams (who spent two seasons with Ricoh Black Rams), Brad Weber, Luke Jacobson and Solomon Alaimalo all touched down for the Chiefs, with Ryota Hasegawa getting a consolation effort for the Wild Knights.

That set up a quarterfinal clash with the team that Deans led to five Super Rugby titles before moving to Australia to coach the Wallabies and eventually Japan.

Two early tries from George Bridge and Seta Tamanivalu saw the Crusaders, coached by former Ricoh No. 8 Scott Robertson, out of the blocks quickest.

And their stubborn defense did the rest as they withstood some intense pressure from the Wild Knights with Takuya Yamasawa and Yuta Takagi both going close.

Daniel Heenan eventually crossed the chalk with Berrick Barnes adding the extras but it was too little too late.

"I don't think there was anything in it. It could have gone either way," said Deans. "I think we've shown, if people weren't convinced, that Japanese rugby is more than competitive."

The Australian fans certainly thought so.

"In one day the Panasonic Wild Knights have shown the world what Japanese rugby is all about," said Peter Gibson from Sydney. "No matter what today's outcome is they have done themselves and their country very proud. Japanese rugby is the talk of the town here."

==Kyodo

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