Crusaders too good for Highlanders

Date published: February 7 2014

The Crusaders claimed a deserved 28-15 victory over the Highlanders in their Super Rugby warm-up match in Motueka.

The Crusaders claimed a deserved 28-15 victory over the Highlanders in their Super Rugby warm-up match in Motueka.

The Christchurch-based franchise – who were playing in their first pre-season fixture – were dominant, despite rainy conditions, and raced into a 28-3 lead midway through the second half.

Full-back Israel Dagg and scrum-half Andy Ellis scored early tries, which were both converted by fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal.

Highlanders pivot Willi Ripia responded with a penalty for the men from Dunedin before the Crusaders struck back with a long-range try by speedster Nafi Tuitavake.

Bleyendaal added the extras to give his side a comfortable 21-3 lead at the interval.

They extended their lead, after the break, through a try by young centre Kieron Fonotia.

Colin Slade converted before the Highlanders added some respectability to the score with late tries from former Melbourne Rebels hooker Ged Robinson and centre Malakai Fekitoa.

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