Eight tries from the Crusaders and a straight red card for Jean Deysel meant that the Sharks suffered a miserable 52-10 defeat in Durban.
The Crusaders avenged the defeat they suffered to the Sharks at home last year with a drubbing that will go down as one of their worst defeats in recent history.
After losing to the Bulls in Pretoria in their opening match on tour, Todd Blackadder’s men bounced back in the best possible way as they ran in eight tries despite being down to 12 men at one stage.
No less than four players were shown cards during the first half.
Three of those were yellow and on the Crusaders side with Nepu Laulala cautioned for a no-arms tackle on SP Marais, before Kieron Fonotia was sent off for the same offence against Jean Deysel and then Nemani Nadolo had to leave the field for cynical play.
The Sharks though had to make do without Deysel for a little more than 40 minutes after he buried his knee in the neck of a Crusaders forward at the breakdown.
Deysel is likely to be handed a further suspension following this deliberate act of foul play – adding more problems tfior the Sharks who have already lost Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn due to poor discipline.
A combination of unstructured defence, ill-discipline and a general lack of respect for their opponents didn’t help the Sharks who made so many schoolboy errors in the opening exchanges, that it begs the question whether their coaching staff is adept enough to be handling a team that boasts a host of international stars.
It all started with Andy Ellis barging over in the third minute while the Sharks defenders were caught napping.
Less than two minutes later Isreal Dagg scored the second after the hosts failed to complete a routine clearance inside their 22.
Hooker Kyle Cooper was the culprit and his poor pass left Cobus Reinach trapped in possession with the Crusaders never a side to leave a rookie error unpunished.
Leading 14-0 the game appeared to be won and the fact that Patrick Lambie squandered one of the easiest penalties a few minutes later would not have done any favours to the team’s rapidly depleting confidence levels.
Eventually Lambie got it right and his penalty would be the only points his team scored in the opening stanza.
Kieron Fonotia scored his team’s third as he jogged in to stretch the lead to 21-3 in the 24th minute and the bonus point game was banked soon after with Ryan Crotty going over after his forwards were stopped metres short of the line following an impressive rolling-maul.
Laulala saw yellow for a no-arms tackle on SP Marais, but still the Sharks were stuck in neutral.
Even when Fonotia was binned for his challenge on Deysel minutes later the Durban-based outfit were unable to get going.
Nadolo kicked the ball away when the Sharks were in an attacking position to become their third yellow card but even though the Sharks had a three-man advantage they were unable to string more than four passes together.
Instead of captialising on the advantage, Deysel committed a rugby crime and the Crusaders were able to clear their lines.
The Crusaders again highlighted why they are always title contenders when Colin Slade opened the scoring for his team in the second half despite being three men down, the fly-half spotting the space in behind the defence and chipping perfectly to finish off the move.
David Halili scored his team’s sixth five-pointer of the match before Matt Todd ran one in from a lineout break, as the Sharks' fortunes went from bad to worse to appalling.
The icing on top was added by Tom Taylor when he raced away with time up on the clock, while the Sharks had to settle for a solitary try by Odwa Ndungane in the second half to add some respectability to the scoreline.
The inquest however has already begun.
Red Card: Deysel
Tries: Ellis, Dagg, Fonotia, Crotty, Slade, Havili, Todd, Taylor
Cons: Slade 5, Taylor
Yellow Cards: Laulala, Fonotia, Nadolo
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (c), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Renaldo Bothma, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Waylon Murray.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 David Havili, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Ben Crouse (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)