Crusaders thrash Reds as New Zealand sides dominate

The Crusaders underlined the growing divide in the tournament with a stunning early blitz, where they ran in four sizzling tries within the opening 30 minutes.

 Canterbury Crusaders inflicted a 63-28 thrashing of Australian champions Queensland Reds in their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match on Saturday, 22 May 2021. Picture: Twitter/@SuperRugby

WELLINGTON – An irresistible Canterbury Crusaders inflicted a 63-28 thrashing of Australian champions Queensland Reds as New Zealand clubs went on a try frenzy in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman on Saturday.

Dubbed the "battle of champions", New Zealand's premier team ensured the blockbuster contest in Brisbane was an anti-climax after running in eight tries to four.

Star Richie Mo'unga dominated the stunned Reds with his first ever hat-trick.

The one-sided result continued the stranglehold of New Zealand teams, who are unbeaten after two rounds of the new-format tournament.

A Bryce Heem hat-trick headlined a rampant Auckland Blues 48-21 victory over the NSW Waratahs while the Waikato Chiefs whipped the ACT Brumbies 40-19 in the earlier fixtures.

"The mindset was there from the start and we fronted up for the whole game," Crusaders stand-in captain Codie Taylor said.

Reds co-captain Liam Wright paid tribute to the Crusaders, who have not lost to the Brisbane side since 2011.

"They were clinical and pounced on every little mistake," he said.

The Crusaders underlined the growing divide in the tournament with a stunning early blitz, where they ran in four sizzling tries within the opening 30 minutes.

The Reds, who were riding an 11-game home winning streak, suffered their second straight hefty defeat since triumphing in Super Rugby AU.

In Auckland, Heem's triple was part of a seven-try romp for the Blues who have chalked up back-to-back bonus point wins to lead the competition.

The Blues have posted 98 points from two matches in an impressive start to the competition.

"We fell into that trap when we come out with a good start and then they fought back and we were into a dogfight," Blues captain Tom Robinson said.

"We can't just come out here against these teams and think (consistency is going to happen).

"I don't think we quite earned it until that second half so it's a work on."

Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon said lapses of concentration let his side down.

"It's been the story of the year. We put ourselves in good positions, we had the Blues stretched at points and then errors around the breakdown, loose ball, and the Blues did a great job off turnovers," he said.

Along with tries to Heem, Ioane and Robinson, the Blues were awarded a penalty try and a try to Kurt Eklund while Otere Black landed four conversions and a penalty.

The Chiefs, who could consider themselves fortunate to sneak home over the Western Force last week in Perth, produced a more confident performance at home in Hamilton where their forwards dominated against the Brumbies.

"After our performance last week we thought we're going to have to go for it and the boys up front laid a good platform and we were able to score a few tries off that," Chiefs captain Brad Weber said.

Backrower Luke Jacobson scored twice in the first half from pushover tries and lock Tupou Vaa'i scored from a lineout drive while the Brumbies early points came from Len Ikitau who stepped around Damian McKenzie to score.

In the second half, McKenzie, Alex Nankivell and Anton Lienert-Brown scored tries, all converted by McKenzie while Bayley Kuenzle and Rob Valetini scored for the Brumbies with Noah Lolesio adding the extras.

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