The BNZ Crusaders have won their 25th consecutive Investec Super Rugby game at home, with a 36-10 victory over a gutsy Lions side at Christchurch Stadium.
In the opening game of the ‘Salute to Service’ round, the flood gates opened for the home side early in the second half, after they led 17-3 at the break.

It took just four minutes for the Crusaders, who were fresh off a bye, to score their first try of the evening. Sevu Reece made his first of many impacts on the game, drawing in two defenders and offloading to Braydon Ennor who sprinted his way to the line. The Lions looked like they were about to strike back, but Lionel Mapoe was unlucky to be called offside and Richie Mo’unga, in his 50th Crusaders match, kicked the penalty.The visitors put plenty of pressure on the Crusaders in the first half, stringing a few phases together and forcing the home side to make some uncharacteristic mistakes in dewy conditions. Eventually Elton Jantjies kicked a penalty to get the Lions on the board. Their defensive structures held strong against the Crusaders, and at one stage they defended for 26 phases, before the Crusaders made an error. However, it was the Sevu Reece show in Christchurch. He scored a brilliant try in the right corner, bumping off three defenders, including Lions No 8 Kwagga Smith, to barge his way to the line and give his side the lead at the break.

It didn’t take long for the Crusaders to stamp their mark on the game in the second forty. The set piece was solid for the home side and George Bridge was able to make the most of the dominance, scoring just after halftime. Very shortly after, Bridge teamed up with Ennor and was able to dot down for his second of the night. Lions fullback Ruan Combrinck bagged the visitors’ first try of the game, scoring off an intercept in the 52nd minute. And although the Crusaders had already done the damage, Reece wasn’t done yet. David Havili made a great break, putting Jordan Taufua into space. He found Reece to his right, who put the ball to his boot and scored off a brilliant kick and chase. 20 year old Ngane Punivai made his Crusaders debut off the bench, while his side are now just one game short of their club record of 26 straight victories at home. They’ll look to defend their home ground next weekend when they take on the Sharks.

Scorers: BNZ Crusaders 36 (Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece 2, George Bridge 2 tries; Richie Mo’unga 4 cons; Richie Mo'unga 1 pen) Lions 10 (Ruan Combrinck tries; Elton Jantjies 1 con; Elton Jantjies 1 pen) HT: 17-3

Match report courtesy of www.superrugby.co.nz