PRETORIA – The scoreboard at Loftus Versfeld resembled a cricket game at times as the unbeaten Crusaders slaughtered the Bulls 62-24 in a 13-try Super Rugby festival on Saturday night.
The seven-time champion Crusaders produced a perfect 10 on the night – 10 tries and 10 consecutive victories to remain the only team with a 100 percent record in this season’s competition.
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The daunting trip from the Land of the Long White Cloud proved to be no obstacle to the Crusaders, who still played with the free spirit that they are known for as they ran the Bulls off their feet.
The rot started as early as the fifth minute, when the visitors set up a powerful lineout maul near the Bulls 22, and blindside flank Pete Samu burst away and through a non-existent defence to open the scoring.
It appeared as if the Bulls had no appetite for tackling as they conceded a second try just six minutes later when inside centre Tim Bateman strolled over following a brilliant line-break and chip from classy flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, who was chosen as the Man of the Match.
The Bulls managed to plug the hole for about 15 minutes, but the floodgates were restored when lock Scott Barrett and hard-running outside centre Jack Goodhue added further tries, and the Crusaders led 26-3 on the half-hour mark.
While the home side fought hard at the breakdowns, and managed to disrupt the Crusaders at times, the lack of organisation in the defensive line meant that the Kiwis could just waltz over out wide or through chip or grubber kicks.
The Bulls pack were also utterly dominated at scrum-time as the Crusaders won a number of penalties at the set-piece.
Right wing Seta Tamanivalu powered over for the fifth try of the first half for the Crusaders, and at 33-3, there was no way back for the Bulls.
Three further Crusaders touchdowns after the break underlined the gulf in class between the two teams, and even though Jan Serfontein and Warrick Gelant brought some spark on attack to the Bulls in the second half, coach Nollis Marais’ team couldn’t stop the bleeding on defence.
Bulls 24 – Tries: Jesse Kriel, Jamba Ulengo, Jan Serfontein. Conversions: Francois Brummer (3). Penalties: Tian Schoeman (1).
Crusaders 62 – Tries: Pete Samu, Tim Bateman, Scott Barrett, Jack Goodhue (2), Seta Tamanivalu, David Havili, Richie Mo’unga, Andrew Makalio, Mitchell Hunt. Conversions: Mo’unga (5), Hunt (1).
African News Agency (ANA)