Crusaders give Kings a Super Rugby hiding

Four tries in each half have set up the Crusaders for a 57-24 win over the Kings in their fourth-round Super Rugby match in Christchurch.

The Kings initially looked sharp with the ball in hand, but their leaky defence proved problematic as the Crusaders ran in eight tries to three on Saturday for their second win of the season.

Making the most of a strong wind at their backs in the first spell, the Crusaders rebounded from a scrappy start to amass four tries and go into halftime with a 29-10 lead.

Coming off the bye, they struggled early on in trying to shift the ball wide, and the Kings pounced quickly when winger Luzuko Vulindlu latched onto a wayward ball from Wyatt Crockett and sprinted 50m for the opening try.

Stung into action, and trailing 10-0 after 10 minutes, the Crusaders hit back four minutes later, showing good patience and superb handling at close quarters to set up Nemani Nadolo’s 22nd Super Rugby try.

A Johnny McNicholl intercept try extended the lead four minutes later, with hooker Ben Funnell crossing soon after following superb work from centre Kieron Fonotia to give the Crusaders a 19-10 lead after 22 minutes.

Nadolo picked up his second at the half-hour mark, the big winger awarded the try as a mass of Crusaders players collapsed across the line.

Things didn’t improve for the Kings following halftime, David Havili making the break after four minutes before offloading for five-eighth Richie Mo’unga to score.

The tries kept coming for the home team, who were particularly punishing on the counter-attack.

Halfback Mitchell Drummond, replacement winger Jone Macilai and flanker Pete Samu all crossed as the Crusaders repeatedly punched through the Kings’ fragile midfield defence.

Apart from the opening 10 minutes, the South Africans never threatened although they restored some respectability to the scoreline with tries to replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle and flanker Chris Cloete.

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