The Crusaders crushed the bumbling Brumbies 52-10 in Nelson on Friday, with wing Sean Maitland dotting down for four tries.
The Crusaders crushed the bumbling Brumbies 52-10 in Nelson on Friday, with wing Sean Maitland dotting down for four tries for the hosts.
The visitors got off to the perfect start, with captain Matt Giteau scoring a try with barely three minutes gone on the clock. But it all went downhill from there for his team as the hosts responded with six tries of their own to completely destory any thoughts the Brumbies may have had of causing an upset.
Crusaders pivot Dan Carter had another near flawless performance with the boot – missing only one from nine – as he kept the scoreboard ticking over from the kicking tee to bag a personal haul of 22 points.
It was one of those nights where everything went right for the seven-time Super Rugby champions, whose commitment on defence must also be applauded after centre Robbie Fruean chased down Adam Ashley-Cooper to prevent a certain try with the scoreline at 45-10… the Crusaders never gave an inch.
Sonny Bill Williams scored his second try in as many matches and his All Blacks team-mate, full-back Israel Dagg, scored another as the red and black machine ran in 46 straight points after trailing 10-6 in the 20th minute to record a second straight win at their temporary home of Trafalgar Park.
The Crusaders scrum looked shaky in the first quarter and the Brumbies caused it moments of concern, especially when Giteau swooped on a dropped ball to score a converted try in the third minute.
But Maitland's first try began the Crusaders resurgence, using aggressive defence to create turnovers and thriving on the counter-attack.
The hosts disrupted the Brumbies' set piece possession, and deprived them of fragments of possession won in other areas. From breakdown turnovers, even in deep defence, the Crusaders fashioned outstanding tries which relied on enthusiastic support play and brilliant finishing paticularly from Maitland.
His first try came from an outstanding break by influential scrum-half Andy Ellis which was well supported by Williams and Carter.
The Brumbies paid a further price with regular goalkicker Giteau in the sin-bin when scrum-half Josh Valentine missed a simple penalty directly in front of the posts 20m out, a kick Giteau would have landed with his eyes closed.
Carter added a fourth penalty on the stroke of half-time to push the lead out to nine points despite spending just 35 per cent of the time in Brumbies territory.
Maitland scored again in the second, eighth and 19th minutes of the second half and Williams scored in the third as the Crusaders piled on 26 points in less than 20 minutes.
The bonus-point win has temporarily propelled the Crusaders into fourth on the overall points table and helps them put behind a disrupted start to the season.
Tries: Maitland 4, Williams, Dagg
Cons: Carter 5
Pens: Carter 4
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Adam Whitelock, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (capt), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn , 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Brad Thorn, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Tom Marshall.
Brumbies: 15 Pat McCabe, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Matt Giteau (capt), 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Steve Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Julian Salvi, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Christian Lealiifano.
Date: Friday, March 11
Kick-off: 19:35 (06:35 GMT)
Venue: Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kane McBride (New Zealand)