The Crusaders won their fifth consecutive Super Rugby match when they hammered the Reds 29-57 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The result is the first time in Super Rugby history that the Crusaders have scored 50 points on Australian soil. The Crusaders 50 points is also the most points scored by a New Zealand team in Brisbane in Super Rugby. The Crusaders outscored the Reds by six tries to four so both teams earned the bonus point for scoring four tries.
Fly-half Colin Slade cashed in on the rout contributing 27 points from six conversions and five penalties from his 11 goal attempts. The result moved the Crusaders into second place in the New Zealand Conference and fourth place overall while the Reds remain at the bottom of the Australian Conference and in 13th place overall.
The result is also the most points ever scored in a Super Rugby match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane at 86 points. Seven time champions the Crusaders went in at half time trailing 17-16 but took control of the match straight after the break when prop Wyatt Crockett crashed over. The Crusaders stormed to victory in the second half scoring 31 unanswered points before the Reds registered their first points of the half in the 64th minute.
Both the Crusaders wingers Nemani Nadolo and Johnny McNicholl scored two tries with others going to loose-head prop Wyatt Crockett and number eight Luke Whitelock. The Reds, who tumbled to their fifth straight defeat, finished with a bonus point for four tries but the pressure will continue to build on their coach Richard Graham after their humiliating afternoon before their own supporters.
For the Crusaders it’s onwards and upwards and they host competition leaders the Coastal Sharks next weekend in what could prove a significant match in the context of the season. After the Sharks’ drab kick-obsessed loss to the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday, the Crusaders produced some exhilarating attack and ran the Reds off their feet with some superb running rugby.
“We made a conscious effort to look after the ball more in the second half and thankfully we scored more points,” Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty said. “It’s been a process of finding our game and we had the chance to go over to South Africa and spend a lot of time together and work really hard and that momentum has carried on since we came home.” In another plus for the Crusaders, All Black skipper Richie McCaw played out the 80 minutes as he works his way back to full fitness after two months out with a broken thumb.
The record defeat is likely to have reverberations in the Reds camp as their nightmare season continues to plumb new depths. “Two soft tries at the start of the second half cost us and isn’t good enough,” Reds skipper James Horwill said. “We didn’t do what we said we would do at half-time. In the second half we didn’t chase hard enough on our kicks and allowed them time and space and allowed them to dictate terms.”
The Crusaders fly back to Christchurch next week where they will host the tournament leading Sharks while the Reds host the Rebels at home in Brisbane.
Final Score Reds 29 (17) Crusaders 57 (16)
Tries – J.Taulagi, D. Shipperley, R.Davies, R.Simmons
Pen – Q.Cooper
Con – Q.Cooper 3
Tries – N.Nadolo 2, W.Crockett, J. McNicholl 2, L.Whitelock,
Pen – C.Slade 5
Con – C.Slade 6
Cards – A.Ellis (14th min yellow)