Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021: First-half clinic guides Crusaders home over Hurricanes

The Crusaders have put on a first-half clinic to cruise to a 31-16 victory over the Hurricanes in Christchurch. 

The defending champions scored four unanswered tries in the opening 40 minutes for their second consecutive victory to return to the top of the Super Rugby Aotearoa table.

The Hurricanes made a fast start to the contest, dominating territory and possession, and were rewarded with two Jordie Barrett penalty goals to lead after 10 minutes. 

The visitors should have been further clear, when Jackson Garden-Bachop intercepted a poor Jack Goodhue pass. He looked clear, but in the final 20 metres, he started running in quicks and was thrown into touch just five metres short of the try-line. 

The game swung in the Crusaders' favour, when 'Canes skipper Ardie Savea was sent to the bin for collapsing a dangerous lineout maul. 

In those 10 minutes, the Crusaders ran in three tries through Richie Mo'unga, Codie Taylor and Ethan Blackadder, racing out to a 21-6 lead. 

The home side rounded out a destructive first half, when Sam Whitelock crashed over in the corner to send them to the break 20 points clear.

The second half was a very scrappy affair, highlighted when Taylor crossed for his second try. 

Replacement Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccatelli overthrew a lineout just five metres out from his own line and the ball fell straight to Taylor, who crashed over. 

The visitors finished the contest strongly and put respectability back into the score-line, with tries to Riccatelli and Peter Umaga-Jensen, but it was too little to late. 

The Crusaders are back in action at home next Saturday against the Chiefs, while the Hurricanes will have the week off, as they go back to the drawingboard.  

Crusaders 31 (Taylor 2, Mo'unga, Blackadder, Barrett tries; Mo'unga 4 conversions) Hurricanes 16 (Riccatelli, Umaga-Jensen tries; Barrett 2 penalty goals)