Crusaders wallop Western Force 15-53 in a one-sided Trans-Tasman Super Rugby clash at HBF Park, Perth.
Leicester Fainga’anuku and Will Jordan both scored hat-tricks as the Crusaders ran riot in Western Australia.
The New Zealanders ran in eight tries to two as they dropped a fifty-burger on the overmatched Australians.
Fainga’anuku scored a 28-minute first-half hat-trick to propel the Crusaders to a comfortable lead over the Force at halftime.
Jordan’s second-half treble was even quicker, while he also assisted for Fainga’anuku’s third try.
Last year’s World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year scored three times in 20 minutes, and he should have had a fourth late on.
Fainga’anuku’s treble gave the Crusaders a 10-point lead at halftime.
Pablo Matera crossed soon after the break before Jordan’s electric display bagged the bonus-point win for Scott Robertson’s side.
There was still time for new boy George Bell to get on the scoresheet at the death.
Richie Mo’unga, usually sound from the tee, had an off day. He did, however, land one penalty and five conversions for 13 points.
Mo’unga’s last conversion after the hooter took him past the great Andrew Mehrtens on the Crusaders’ all-time points scorers’ list.
The 27-year-old first five-eighth overtook Merhtens’ 990 points by one with his final conversion. It also took Mo’unga two games fewer (87-89) than the former flyhalf.
Jake Strachan and Fergus Lee-Warner scored on either side of the break, while Strachan landed a penalty and conversion (10 pts).
The Western Force have now lost their last eight Super Rugby matches at HBF Park.
To make matters worse, the Force’s long-standing losing streak against New Zealand opposition increases to 23 defeats from the last 23 games. Ouch.
There was not much to separate the Western Force and the Crusaders at the break as the visitors led 18-8
Honours were pretty even in the possession (50%/50%) and territory (48%/52%) stakes.
Tim Sampson’s side had a 100% success rate with their set-pieces, but they did squander two attacking lineouts near the opposition’s try line.
The difference between the side – apart from Fainga’anuku – was the offloading of the New Zealanders.
Roberton’s men made six offloads to none, which saw the visitors get over the gainline and on the front foot.
Strachan kicked an early penalty to put his team on the board.
Fainga’anuku and Strachan traded unconverted tries as the home team led 8-5 in the first quarter.
Byron Ralston’s mistake led to the Crusaders taking a quick-tap penalty close to the line.
Fainga’anuku angled his run and swivelled out of a tackle to dot down.
Kyle Godwin picked up Fainga’anuku’s dropped pass and kickstarted a counter-attack into the Crusaders’ 22.
The Force went through the phases before Strachan latched onto Godwin’s grubber.
The 25-year-old fullback beat Fainga’anuku to the ball to score.
Before the half-hour, Mo’unga danced around Ralston before sucking in Strachan.
Mo’unga drew the fullback to put Fainga’anuku away for a spectacular one-handed diving finish by the flag.
The Saders’ No 10 had missed his previous two conversion attempts, but he found his radar with a 36th-minute penalty.
Fainga’anuku, causing all manner of problems, got tackled out near the flag by Ralston.
As the clock ticked down, the Saders did what they do so often: score.
Bryn Hall switched left from the centrefield scrum to Jordan.
Jordan drew the defender before floating a long cutout pass to Fainga’anuku for the 22-year-old winger’s hat-trick.
Mo’unga missed the touchline conversion again, but the visitors led by two scores at the interval.
Will Jordan’s 20-minute treble fires the Crusaders to a resounding win over the shell-shocked Western Force
Issak Fines-Leleiwasa darted to the chalk but did not make it. Lee-Warner arrived, picked up the ball and sniped around the base of the ruck to score.
Strachan converted to make it a three-point ball game, but the try only seemed to light a fire in the Kiwis.
The 10-time Super Rugby champions scored twice in quick succession to make it 15-32 11 minutes after halftime.
Matera took Hall’s flat pass and bashed through three defenders to score next to the poles.
Moments later Jordan got in on the act. George Bridge combined with Cullen Grace to set up a ruck on the try line.
Hall recycled quickly to Jordan, who cut inside the flatfooted Andrew Ready to score.
The Force fought back, but they botched another two attacking lineouts before Jordan killed the game.
Jordan, like a thief in the night, chased Bridge’s chip-kick. The 24-year-old fullback plucked the ball away from the covering Ralston and Godwin and stole in for a brace.
Mo’unga, back on song, added the extras to open up a 24-point lead going into the last quarter.
With 10 minutes remaining, Ethan Blackadder broke through the lines to set up Jordan for his treble. Mo’unga’s conversion made it 46-15 to the visitors.
Chay Fihaki’s worldy of a finish was chalked off by the TMO with two minutes to play before Bell brought up the half-century from a rolling maul.
Mo’unga’s fifth conversion took him past Mehrtens.
Final Score: Force 15 (8) Crusaders 53 (18)
Tries – Strachan, Lee-Warner
Pen – Strachan
Con – Strachan
Tries – Fainga’anuku (3), Matera, Jordan (3), Bell
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (5)
Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Matt Kellahan
TMO: Brett Cronan
Western Force: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Bayley Kuenzle (captain), 11 Reece Tapine, 10 Reesjan Pasitoa, 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 8 Tim Anstee, 7 Ollie Callan, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Ryan McCauley, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Bo Abra, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Alex Masibaka, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Grason Makara.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 George Bridge, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili (captain), 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Pablo Matera 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Cullen Grace, 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Ricky Jackson, 1 Tamaiti Williams.
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 Seb Calder, 18 George Bower, 19 Liam Hallam-Eames, 20 Tom Christie, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Chay Fihaki.