The Crusaders got the job done in their opening match of the new season against the Highlanders but is was a job done rather than any sort of statement.
This was expected in the first outing of the new season as the team looked a bit disjointed at times and did not execute as we expect from the champions.
They however did control the game nicely and had a great defence to keep the Highlanders out.
The first points came from the Crusaders when Taylor got over after a beautiful short ball from Whitelock. That gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead.
There minuets later and the Crusaders was over again, this time Hall got the ball from a kick ahead from Reece who sprinted down the line before sending the ball back infield.
That double the lead for the Saders halfway through the first half.
The Saders then loss Blackadder with a yellow card after they conceded just too many penalties.
The Highlanders finally got on the board when Frizell got over. Great fast ball in the scrum which eventually went out wide and no one was stopping Frizell with only a few meters out.
That reduced the lead to only 14-5.
The Highlanders got another just before halftime and what a beauty it was.
From a ruck in the midfield the ball went right with quick hands to Nareki who goes through a huge gap and sends Garden-Bachop away to the corner.
That was the final score of the half and the teams went into the break with the Crusaders leading 14-10.
Hunt made it a one point game soon after the break with a penalty but it was the Saders with the first try in the second half when Reece got over. It went up to the TMO but he decided all was well and try was awarded.
The Crusaders wrapped up the game in the 73 minute when McAlister was at then end of a rolling maul.
Crusaders 26 – Tries: Codie Taylor, Bryn Hall, Sevu Reece, Brodie McAlister Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (3)
Highlanders 13 Tries: Shannon Frizell, Connor Garden-Bachop Penalties: Mitchell Hunt