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Clinical Crusaders blow away Hurricanes

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The Crusaders blew away the Hurricanes 8-32 after a dominant display at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.

The bonus-point win keeps the Crusaders at the top of the Super Rugby standings, extending their winning run against the Hurricanes to four and unbeaten run in New Zealand derbies to 11.

David Havili grabbed a brace – and should have had a hat-trick but for a wayward pass from Scott Barrett – as the defending champions also ended a five-game losing streak against the Canes at the Cake Tin.

Will Jordan and Braydon Ennor also crossed for scores as Scott Robertson’s men got back to winning ways on Kieren Read’s return.

14-man Crusaders keep their noses in front at the interval before pulling away

The Crusaders took a nine-point halftime lead despite having Matt Todd sin-binned for cynical play.

Mistakes from the Hurricanes’ back three allowed Jordan and Havili to strike for the defending champions either side of Ngani Laumape’s score.

Todd’s 10 minutes only cost the visitors two points after Beauden Barrett missed Laumape’s conversion and Richie Mo’unga kicked a penalty before the interval.

John Plumtree’s error-strewn team gave away 21 turnovers and made 15 handling mistakes, succumbing meekly to their fellow Kiwis.

The Canterbury team pulled away after the break, through Havili and Ennor’s scores, keeping the mistake-ridden home team scoreless in the second half.

Mo’unga brought up 500 Super Rugby points, in the process.

Video highlights: Hurricanes versus Crusaders

Jordie Barrett opened the scoring with a long-range penalty.

But the Crusaders struck the first blow when Jordan, promoted from the bench to replace George Bridge, capitalised on Ben Lam’s sloppy recovery and score in the corner.

Bryn Hall broke to the open side of a scrum, spotted some space behind Lam and Chase Tiatia, and kicked in behind them. Lam couldn’t gather, allowing Jordan to pounce.

The Hurricanes were starting to dominate the forwards’ battle. They won a big scrum-penalty, then held up Scott Barrett after a Crusaders maul; however, mistakes continued to plague them.

Ennor collected Beauden Barrett’s nothing chip-kick and, under no pressure, sent the ball infield to Havili.

The fullback launched an up-and-under and chased. His kick was too far, but some sloppy handling by Tiatia, who slipped as he tried to catch the ball, landed fortuitously into Havili’s hands.

The 24-year-old accepted his opposite number’s gift and raced away untouched. Two mistakes, two converted tries. Just like that.

Hurricanes cut the deficit after Todd’s cynical play and Laumape’s strength

The hosts fought back, going 11 phases inside the opposition’s 22 before a knock on killed the attack.

Somehow, they managed to get back within striking distance, winning a scrum-penalty. Brad Weber took a quick-tap and made a dart for the try line.

As the scrumhalf took off, Todd interfered, putting Weber off. The flanker was pinged for the infraction and, rightly, sent to the naughty step.

The ball was put out for a five-metre lineout. The Canes went to the middle of the lineout, set up a drive only for Ardie Savea to pop a short pass to the onrushing Laumape, who powered over from close-range.

Beauden Barrett missed the conversion, although, one would have thought the hosts would have taken advantage of their numerical supremacy.

They, instead, gave away a penalty shortly after the restart, gifting Mo’unga and his teammates an opportunity to take some time off the clock and add three points.

Crusaders stamp their authority and show their class

Little did the home team – and support – know that the next 40 minutes would be painful. Plumtree’s men folded meekly, making a litany of unforced errors.

Almost 40 turnovers and handling mistakes were chalked up. That is nearly one every two minutes, meaning the Canes gifted possession away feebly to their rivals.

It is just not good enough for a side sitting second on the Super Rugby table.

And a team as clinical as the Crusaders, who punish every mistake, capitalise on a half-chance, were not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, they punched their hosts in the mouth.

Todd returned soon after halftime, his yellow card costing two measly points. Things went from bad to worse as Whetukamokamo Douglas intercepted a stray pass to set up Havili’s second.

Beauden Barrett caught the flanker, but it only delayed the inevitable.

As always, the Crusaders punished the carelessness of their hosts when the fullback darted inside Lam and beat Tiatia and Beauden Barrett to score.

An 11-phase attack broke the Hurricanes’ resistance. It was a wonderful try. Some inter-linking play between the Crusaders’ forwards and backs highlighted the difference between the sides.

Ryan Crotty made a little break before Douglas passed to Jordan Taufua. He drew a defender and sent Ennor’s away in the corner. Game over.

Havili thought he had a hat-trick only for his try to be disallowed because of Scott Barrett’s slack forward pass.

Mo’unga brought up his milestone in the 72nd-minute to ease his team over the line.

Final Score: Hurricanes 8 (8) Crusaders 32 (17)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – Laumape
Pen – J. Barrett
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Crusaders
Tries – Jordan, Havili (2), Ennor
Pen – Mo’unga (2)
Con – Mo’unga (3)
Drop –
Cards – Todd (Yellow, 31′)

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: 
Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2: 
Nick Hogan
TMO:
Aaron Peterson

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong.

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Wes Goosen.

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Braydon Ennor, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Will Jordan, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Harry Allan.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Sevu Reece.

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