The BNZ Crusaders bounced back from last week’s loss to the Chiefs in resounding style to thump the Rebels 85-26 in a Christchurch capitulation. 

The scoring started in the opening minute when 100 game hero Sam Whitelock crashed over from a charge down and didn’t stop as the BNZ Crusaders ran in 13 tries to humble the visitors.

The Rebels had no answer to the BNZ Crusaders relentless attack, missing 30 tackles and conceding 20 turnovers as the Crusaders matched the Blues and Chiefs by securing a bonus point win over an Australian opponent this weekend.

The BNZ Crusaders made no secret of their desire to secure a bonus point win in the build up to the match and took just 10 minutes to go into bonus point territory with tries to Whitelock, Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett. 

With Matt Todd effecting turnovers at will, the Crusaders grew in confidence with ambitious offloads and skip passes bamboozling the Rebels defence as Alex Hodgman, Nemani Nadol and Johnny McNichol put their name on the score sheet. At 38-0 down, Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker finished off a great movement against the run of play to ensure the Rebels wouldn’t go scoreless.

The half was rounded out with a wonderful individual play from first five-eighth Richie Moung’a. The classy pivot combined pace, power and vision to set up Ryan Crotty for his second try and make it 43-7 at half time.

The BNZ Crusaders forward pack put their stamp on the game in the 42nd minute by executing a seamless rolling maul from 20 metres out to demolish the Rebels pack. Codie Taylor was the beneficiary of the forward movement and crossed the chalk just moments later for his second try before setting up lock Pete Samu to make it 64-7 early in the half.

With the win secured, the BNZ Crusaders cleared the bench and traded tries with the Rebels in a free flowing final 20 minutes. Johnny McNichol put the icing on the cake for the Crusaders by completing a hat trick in extra time to confirm the 85-26 rout.

The win takes the BNZ Crusaders up to 50 points on the Investec Super Rugby ladder, just one point behind the conference leading Chiefs. With just one match remaining against the Hurricanes at AMI Stadium next week, the Crusaders are still in with a chance of topping the conference and securing a home play off match.

Crusaders 85 (Sam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty 2, Scott Barrett, Alex Hodgman, Nemani Nadolo, Johnny McNichol 3, Codie Taylor 2, Pete Samu, Matt Todd tries Richie Mo’unga 7 con, Nadolo 3 con)

Rebels 26 (Nic Stirzaker try, Culum Retallick Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni 3 con)

HT: 43-7

Match report courtesy of www.superrugby.co.nz