Christchurch - The Crusaders juggernaut stormed to a record 17th consecutive
victory with a 38-22 demolition of the Hurricanes in their
Super Rugby clash in Christchurch on Saturday.
As it happened: Crusaders v Hurricanes
The defending champions scored six tries to four and held an
impressive 24-0 lead at half-time in the largely one-sided encounter
with the score distorted by two late Hurricanes tries when the result
was beyond doubt.
For most of the game the Crusaders feasted on stolen lineout ball,
Matt Todd dominated the breakdown, and their All Blacks-laden Crusaders
pack kept the Hurricanes eight under constant pressure.
Todd, the Crusaders skipper, said the dominant first half was the making of the game.
"We came out with the attitude to attack and we scored some good
tries which was pleasing. The second half got a bit messy," he said.
The Crusaders haven't been beaten since back-to-back losses away to
the Hurricanes and Otago Highlanders a year ago and have overtaken the
previous record of 16 wins set by the Crusaders of 2005-06.
They also extended their impressive home run to 21 matches without defeat in three years.
Two of the Crusaders tries to Scott Barrett came when they departed
from their renowned lineout drive and used a new tactic of peeling off
to move play infield.
"Obviously teams know we like to drive so we have to have variations
off that and it's always nice when stuff you work on at training comes
off on game day," Todd said.
Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles described it as "a good, old-fashioned
lesson in how to play Super Rugby. They've set the benchmark."
champions in 2016 and semi-finalists for the past two years, received
few chances, and those they did get were quickly nullified.
When they chose a scrum instead of a kickable shot at goal midway through the second half they were pushed off their own ball.
The new lineout move for the Crusaders saw Barrett open the scoring in both halves.
Richie Mo'unga also scored twice with his first resulting from
delicate work down the sideline by Manasa Mataele who managed to keep
his outside foot off the ground long enough to get his pass away as he
was being tackled over the touchline.
From the restart, the Crusaders mounted an 80-metre counter attack
which resulted in Jordan Taufua's try and Mo'unga scored his second
after the Crusaders opted for a scrum rather than a close-range shot at
goal on the stroke of half-time.
As the game loosened up in the second half the Hurricanes came back with two early tries to Ben Lam and Wes Goosen.
The Crusaders responded with one to George Bridge before Lam and TJ Perenara added two more for the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders picked up four points for their victory and moved to the top of both the New Zealand Conference and the Overall log.
The Hurricanes left empty-handed and stayed third and eighth in the New Zealand Conference and Overall standings, respectively.
In next weekend's Round 3 action, the Crusaders travel to Brisbane to face the Reds (Saturday, March 2 at 10:45 SA time), while the Hurricanes host the Brumbies in Wellington (Friday, March 1 at 08:35 SA time).
15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ngani Laumape