The Crusaders extended their winning streak against the Stormers to seven straight Super Rugby wins with a 45-28 victory at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
The seven tries to four victory puts the Crusaders firmly on top of the Super Rugby standings in New Zealand as they lead the second placed Highlanders by six points in that conference.
The Crusaders made an explosive start as they ran in there unanswered tries starting with George Bridge, Billy Harmon and then Bryn Hall.
The Stormers got on to the scoreboard shortly after the half an hour mark when JC Janse van Rensburg got the ball down behind the line.
However the Crusaders hit back before half time as George Bridge crossed for his second of the match.
The Stormers made the better start in the second half by scoring two tries and cutting the points deficit to ten points at 31-21 after 15 minutes of the second half.
The Crusaders first half points tally meant that the Crusaders lead was never really threatened even though the Stormers staged a second half comeback.
South Africa’s Stormers struggled with their set piece and their attacks repeatedly faltered due to loose passes or poor handling in the back line.
The Stormers didn’t lack in persistance though as several times they built more than 10 phases on attack and these produced tries from props JC van Rensburg and Wilco Louw as well as JD Schickerling.
However despite the Stormers second half rally any hopes of a vicrtory were dashed when Seta Tamanivalu and Richie Mo’unga increased the hosts try tally to seven in the match.
Replacement Steven Kitshoff scored a late consolation try for the Stormers which set up an exciting finish as the Crusaders were reduced to 13 players in extra time due to a yellow card and injury.
With the home side’s bonus point at risk the Stormers pressed hard at the line but after being held up the Crusaders held on, turned the ball over and kicked it into touch to end the match.
Next week the Crusaders travel to Wellington where they will play the Hurricanes. The Stormers take on the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Final Score Crusaders 45 (31) Stormers 28 (7)
Tries – G.Bridge 2, C.Taylor, B.Harmon, B.Hall, S.Tamanivalu, R.Mo’unga
Con – R.Mo’unga 5
Cards -B. Harmon (80th min yellow)
Tries -JC Janse van Resnburg, W.Louw, JD Schickerling, S.Kitshoff
Con -SP. Marais 4
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1:Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Ref 2:Cam Stone
TMO : Shane McDermott
15. David Havili, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Jordan Taufua, 7. Billy Harmon, 6. Peter Samu, 5. Sam Whitelock (c), 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Chris King, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Manasa Mataele
15 SP Marais, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Kobus van Dyk, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 George Whitehead.