Garrin Lambley - Sport24 Editor
Cape Town - The Crusaders have sent an ominous warning to the rest of the Vodacom Super Rugby teams that they have their sights firmly set on an eighth title after thrashing the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday.
The Crusaders won 51-18 after leading 32-13 at half-time.
The Crusaders scored seven tries through flank George Whitelock, wing Zac Guildford (2), centre Ryan Crotty, flank Richie McCaw, prop Wyatt Crockett and replacement Matt Todd. Flyhalf Dan Carter was on target with five conversions and two penalties.
The Highlanders replied with tries by centre Tamati Ellison and wing Hosea Gear. Flyhalf Chris Noakes added a conversion and two penalties.
The Crusaders picked up a full-house of five points for their victory, but stayed second in the New Zealand Conference. They did however move up to fourth in the Combined log.
The Highlanders left empty-handed and remained third and seventh in the New Zealand Conference and Overall standings, respectively.
Super Rugby breaks for three weeks due to the International Test window, before recommencing on June 29 when the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Dunedin. The Crusaders entertain the Hurricanes the following day.Teams:
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Matt Todd, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tom Taylor, 22. Tom MarshallHighlanders:
15 Ben Smith, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 James Haskell, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Kade Poki