Christchurch Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders eased to a 19-41 bonus point victory at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne.
The Crusaders victory is their 13th from 13 matches and their higest ever points tally in Melbourne.
The Crusaders outscored the Rebels by three tries to six in the contest and is the first time that the Christchurch side have scored more than one try in Melbourne.
The loss was the Rebels tenth this season but although they were always expected to lose the match, but to their credit the size of the loss wasn’t expected.
The Rebels even won the second half on the scoreboard as the Crusaders only scored 10 points compared to the Rebels 12.
The Crusaders rested several of their All Blacks and still dominated the match and it was an entertaining contest.
A yellow card for Rebels centre Reece Hodge in the 25th minute proved costly for the home side as while he was on the sideline the Crusaders added 21 points to their tally.
Leading 7-31 at half time the Crusaders were expected to push on and add a similar score but it was the Rebels who made the better start.
In the opening minutes of the second half prop Toby Smith burrowed over the line to score for the Rebels.
However as was the case with every Rebels try the Crusaders hit back almost immediately by scoring a try of their own.
The Rebels’ league recruit Marika Koroibete scored two tries while Crusaders replacement Jed Brown also scored a double. The star for the Rebels was however Japanese international No.8 Amanaki Mafi.
Koroibete’s second try came in the 58th minute following a burst down the touchline by Mafi who ended the match having run 149 metres which is almost double the next best Rebels player.
Although it never looked like the Crusaders would lose the match the Rebels continued to work away at the visiting side but missed tackles and mistakes proved to be costly against the tournament leaders.
Next week in Round 15 the Crusaders host the Highlanders at home in Christchurch while the Rebels visit the Brumbies in Canberra.
Final Score Rebels 19 (7) Crusaders 41 (31)
Tries -M.Koroibete 2, T.Smith
Con – B.Volavola, R.Hodge
Cards – R.Hodge (24th min yellow)
Tries -M.Mataele, J.Brown 2, S. Tamanivalu, D.Havili, M.Drummond
Pen – R.Mo’unga
Con – R.Mo’unga 4
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2:Damon Murphy
TMO : George Ayoub
1. Toby Smith ,2. James Hanson,3. Tyrel Lomax,4. Steve Cummins,5. Lopeti Timani,6. Sean McMahon,7. Colby Fainga’a,8. Amanaki Mafi,9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain),10. Jackson Garden-Bachop,11. Marika Koroibete,12. Reece Hodge,13. Tom English,14. Sefa Naivalu,15. Ben Volavola
Replacements : 16. Siliva Siliva,17. Fereti Sa’aga,18. Laurie Weeks,19. Culum Retallick,20. Hugh Sinclair,21. Ben Meehan,22. Mitch Inman,23. Jonah Placid
1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Ben Funnell, 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Quinten Strange, 5. Sam Whitelock (C) , 6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 7. Pete Samu, 8. Jordan Taufua, 9. Bryn Hall , 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Manasa Mataele, 12. Tim Bateman ,13. Seta Tamanivalu, 14. Israel Dagg, 15. David Havili
Replacements : 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Oli Jager, 19. Luke Romano , 20. Jed Brown , 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt , 23. George Bridge