The Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 33-16 in a one-sided Round Two Super Rugby Aotearoa clash at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch.
The defending Super Rugby Aotearoa champions cruised to a five-tries to two romps over a mismatched Hurricanes side, blowing away the Wellington franchise with a 17-minute four-try first-half blitz.
Richie Mo’unga and Codie Taylor starred for the men in red. Taylor scored twice and had a hand in Mo’unga’s 26th-minute score following a midfield break.
The 29-year-old hooker grabbed a brace on either side of halftime as the Crusaders scored 33 unanswered points following two early Jordie Barrett penalties before two Hurricanes tries took the gloss off the final result.
Mo’unga scored a try and kicked four conversions for a match haul of 13 points. Ethan Blackadder and skipper Scott Barrett also found the whitewash for the home team.
Ricky Riccitelli and Peter Umaga-Jensen dotted down for the Hurricanes in the second half, but the damage was done due to 10 minutes first-half minutes of madness.
Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea received a 19th-minute yellow card for cynical play, gifting the champs an opening. They took it, scoring three converted tries.
Super Rugby Aotearoa Round Two Video Highlights: Crusaders vs Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Barrett put his team 6-0 up inside a quarter of an hour as the visitors controlled the early exchanges in the New Zealand sunshine.
The Canes should have extended their lead in the 11th-minute, but some superb cover-defending by the Saders saved a certain try.
Jackson Garden-Bachop intercepted a stray pass and raced 60 metres before hesitating while looking for support. It allowed Sevu Reece and Leicester Fainga’anuku to chase him down and tackle the flyhalf into touch.
Jordie Barrett slotted his second penalty minutes later, but the missed chance changed the momentum of the contest.
As is the way against the 11-times Super Rugby champions, one mistake turns the game.
Hurricanes ill-discipline and Crusaders remarkable game-management shifts momentum
Ardie Savea bore the brunt of the referee’s ire after a 20-metre Crusaders driving maul was illegally brought down short of the goal-line.
Savea saw yellow and spent 10 minutes in the bin. During the number eight’s time on the naughty step, Scott Robertson’s men scored 21 points.
Taylor, Mo’unga, and Blackadder all crossed inside eight minutes to put the home team 21-6 ahead in the blink of an eye.
Three minutes after Savea’s card, Taylor dotted down for his 19th Super Rugby try. He took a quick-tap free-kick instead of opting for another scrum, and he caught the Hurricanes napping.
The Crusaders increased the tempo, looking to take advantage of their 14-man opponents
Soon after, the Saders had another. Mo’unga combined with Taylor from inside the Crusaders half to the Hurricanes’ 22.
Taylor charged forward, drew the last defender before popping to Mitchell Drummond in support. The scrumhalf was tackled as he gathered the ball but managed to play a quick inside-pass to Mo’unga, who collected and dived over under the posts.
More quick-thinking by the home team led to the third five-pointer. Blackadder crashed over from close range after a second eight-phase attack in a row following a previous penalty.
Drummond, continuing his side’s increased intensity, took the quick-tap penalty to set-up the next series of attacks. The No 9 caught the opposition sleeping again before setting up Scott Barrett in the corner.
Barrett crashed over a minute before halftime to, effectively, kill the game as a contest.
Taylor scored from a botched defensive lineout by the visitors six minutes after the interval to end a scoring run of five tries and 33 points in 24 minutes.
Riccitelli, on for the in-form but injured Asafo Aumua –– who left the field in a sling –– overthrew his jumpers on a 5m defensive lineout. The ball bounced into the ever-aware Taylor to net a brace.
Mo’unga’s fourth conversion was the last points the hosts would score, though, as the game broke up as the weather deteriorated.
Hurricanes outscore Crusaders in the second half, but the damage could not be undone
Riccitelli, whose mistake gifted Taylor his second score, crashed over at the end of the third quarter to spare the hooker some of his blushes.
The late afternoon sunshine turned to rain, and the game disintegrated, with both sides making numerous unforced errors in a scrappy final quarter.
Umaga-Jensen’s late score flattered Holland’s team as well as the scoreboard.
Robertson’s charges were not bothered, they had the game –– and bonus-point –– wrapped up in the first stanza, the win keeping them top of the Super Rugby table.
Final Score: Crusaders 33 (26) Hurricanes 16 (6)
Tries – Taylor (2), Mo’unga, Blackadder, S. Barrett
Con – Mo’unga (4)
Tries – Riccitelli, P. Umaga-Jensen
Pen – J. Barrett (2)
Cards – A. Savea (Yellow, 19′)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Brendon Pickerill
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili Talitui, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Will Jordan.
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Luke Campbell, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Salesi Rayasi