Crusaders beat Brumbies 26-37 with a clinical Super Rugby Pacific display at GIO Stadium, Canberra.
The Crusaders continue their long-standing winning streak over the Brumbies to 11 Super Rugby victories dating back to 2009.
The New Zealand juggernaut has now won 16 of their last 18 Trans-Tasman Super Rugby matches in Australia.
And this result never looked in doubt once the Kiwis clicked into gear after a quarter of an hour.
Codie Taylor, Sevu Reece, Bryn Hall, and Will Jordan all scored to move the Crusaders into second on the table.
Richie Mo’unga slotted three penalties and four conversions (17 pts) as he passed 1,000 points in his career.
Taylor scored and set up Reece’s record-breaking 40th Super Rugby try as the visitors shot into an 18-point halftime lead.
Reece became the fastest player to score 40 tries in the history of the tournament.
The Fijian flyer reached the landmark in 50 games, three quicker than Brumbies’ legend Joe Roff (53 matches).
Mo’unga passed former Crusaders’ flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens’ 990 points last weekend.
The 27-year-old become the franchise’s second-highest points scorer behind the great Dan Carter.
Mo’unga was flawless from the tee, kicking seven from seven, and his kicking out of hand kept the opposition backtracking and inside their half.
Irae Simone bagged a brace with an impressive display in midfield.
Tom Wright’s stunning solo effort and Folau Fainga’a’s scores meant the two teams shared four tries apiece, but not the points.
Nic White and Ryan Lonergan added three conversions between them, with a couple of assists each.
The 11-point win takes the Crusaders above the Brumbies into second place on the Super Rugby Pacific table on points difference.
Both teams have 43 points; however, the Kiwis’ points difference is +131, 21 more than the Aussies’ +110.
The two teams have already qualified for the playoffs, and one more win will seal a home quarter-final.
The clinical Crusaders punish the Brumbies’ multitude of errors to take an insurmountable first-half lead
The Brumbies had won their last three Super Rugby Pacific matches in succession against New Zealand opposition this season.
However, the Saders came to Canberra and taught the Australians a lesson about how to win the big games.
Dan McKellar’s charges had been good at home.
They won their last five Super Rugby matches on the bounce at GIO Stadium, but Scott Robertson’s side ended the good times.
McKellar’s side had an off day with uncharacteristic individual errors and poor set-piece that just did not get going.
The rolling maul, usually so devastating, fell flat as the visitors easily defended the Brumbies’ most potent weapon.
The capital team did miss two important players Noah Lolesio and Rob Valetini through injury.
Rodney Iona started at standoff but had a poor day at first receiver. Tom Hooper and Jahrome Brown did not have an impact on the breakdown and tight phases of Valetini.
The Kiwis swarmed the breakdown and had the better of the tight phases to set up the victory.
McKellar will be disappointed with his team, but all things considered, they did not give up.
They could have folded at 23-5 and 30-12 down, but they fought back to keep the tourists honest.
Had the handling been better, the Brumbies might have earned a losing bonus point, but they squandered too many glorious opportunities at the death.
The Brumbies fought back with three tries, but the Crusaders continued to punish mistakes
Robertson’s men, however, were clinical. The visitors scored two tries and three penalties on six entries into the opposition’s 22 in the first half.
This, essentially, won them the game because the home team could not claw back the big deficits.
The Brumbies opened the scoring with a fourth-minute Simone try. But it took another 41 minutes before their next points.
Meanwhile, Taylor and Reece scored within six minutes of each other to go 14-5 up.
The boot of Mo’unga saw the Crusaders score 23 unanswered points to take an 18-point lead into the shed.
And despite outscoring the visitors three tries to two in the second stanza, the game was gone.
Simone crashed over again soon after the interval to make it 12-23 to the hosts.
The 26-year-old centre, with an angled run, took White’s deft pass and crashed over for his second of the night.
When the ACT side did score, the 10-time champions hit back.
Moreover, Hall and Jordan added two converted second-half scores as the hosts chased the game.
Hall and Jordan’s scores sandwiched Fainga’a’s 32nd Super Rugby try. It kept the visitors out in front with 15 minutes to play.
Wright intercepted Jordan’s stray pass and raced 75 metres to kickstart a late fightback.
However, as was the story of the game, several handling errors and a poor driving maul, allowed the visitors to see out the contest.
Final Score: Brumbies 26 (5) Crusaders 37 (23)
Tries – Simone (2), Wright, Fainga’a
Con – White (2), R. Lonergan (2)
Tries – Taylor, Reece, Hall, Jordan
Pen – Mo’unga (3)
Con – Mo’unga (4)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Damon Murphy
TMO: James Leckie
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Rodney Iona, 9 Nic White, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Caderyn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Rory Scott, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Ollie Sapsford.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Jackson, 17 Finlay Brewis, 18 Tamaiti Williams, 19 Liam Hallam-Eames, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Braydon Ennor, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.