Crusaders in cruise control
Dunedin - The Crusaders ran rampant with five second half tries to storm to a 44-13 victory over the Highlanders in a Super rugby match in Dunedin on Saturday.Scorers:
The Highlanders were left ruing some poor penalty kicking after holding their own in a tight first 40 minutes before tries from Kieran Read, Kahn Fotuali'i, Wyatt Crockett and a brace from Israel Dagg put them firmly in their place.
Crusaders centre Robbie Fruean scored the only try before the break and flyhalf Dan Carter chipped in with two penalties and three conversions before giving way to Matt Berquist, who added another conversion.
"We could well have been down 15 points had a few of their kicks gone over," said Crusaders flanker Matt Todd.
"We knew we had to build pressure and be effective and couldn't just pitch up there and be lazy. At times it could have been better but I think we did a pretty good job."
The Highlanders, who won their first three matches of the season, lacked penetration in attack and 36-year-old former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown landed just two of five penalty attempts before being replaced by Robbie Robinson.
Robinson missed his one penalty attempt but did get on the scoreboard when he converted impressive flanker Adam Thomson's late consolation try, which at least gave the bumper 20,000 Carisbrook crowd something to cheer about.
"It's very disappointing to play like that in front of crowd like this," said Highlanders captain Jimmy Cowan. "We struggled to get to the gainline game tonight and we were a bit slow to the punch at the breakdown too."
The seven-times champions Crusaders have now won their last three matches impressively and head to London for next week's encounter against South Africa's Sharks.
The match will be played at Twickenham to boost finances and raise money for victims of the Christchurch earthquake, which has forced the Crusaders to play home matches away from their Lancaster Park base.
"It's going to be a total experience," said captain Kieran Read. "Something new. Got to rest up and get the travels out of the way and look forward to an awesome game next week."
Highlanders: Try: Adam Thomson. Conversion: Robbie Robinson. Penalties: Tony Brown (2)
Crusaders: Tries: Robbie Fruean, Kieran Read, Israel Dagg (2), Kahn Fotuali'i, Wyatt Crockett. Conversions: Dan Carter (3). Matt Berquist. Penalties: Carter (2).
Referee: Marius Jonker (RSA)