WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Fullback Will Jordan and hooker Codie Taylor grabbed two tries apiece in Christchurch to propel the Canterbury Crusaders to a record-breaking 57-28 demolition of the Waikato Chiefs in Super Rugby on Saturday.
Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece, Andrew Makalio, Michael Ala’alatoa and Bryn Hall also crossed for the nine-times champions, whose previous highest score against the Chiefs came in 2005 when they beat them 50-18.
The Chiefs, twice champions who have made the playoffs in each of the previous seven seasons, have now lost all four of their games to start the 2019 campaign. Taleni Seu, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Jack Debrezcini and Mitchell Brown all crossed for the Hamilton-based side.
The victory lifted the Crusaders to a perfect 4-0 start to the season and they were ruthless against their fellow New Zealanders, scoring at will off their set-piece, through phase play, on the counter and, in the case of Reece, from an intercept of a Damian McKenzie pass.
It was particularly sweet Super Rugby debut try for the winger, who was picked up by the Crusaders after he had a contract in Ireland cancelled and was spurned by the four other New Zealand teams following a court case for assaulting his girlfriend.
The home side romped to a 12-0 lead after 12 minutes with tries to Ennor and Reece before the Chiefs put pressure on the Crusaders inside their own 22-metre area and Seu smashed over from an attacking scrum.
That only served to galvanise the Crusaders, who responded with tries to Jordan (two) and Makalio in the space of 13 minutes to open up a virtually unassailable 33-7 lead at the break.
Ala’alatoa extended the lead to an embarrassing 40-7 when he smashed over after a controlled buildup and superbly timed pass from scrumhalf Ereatara Erani put him into space.
The Chiefs’ Nanai-Seturo showed outstanding balance and strength to score in the corner despite the interests of three defenders but it was only a temporary pause in the Crusaders’ onslaught.
Taylor, making his first appearance this season after an All Blacks’ mandated rest period, crossed twice while Hall also scored as the Crusaders passed 50 points to the delight of the large crowd at Rugby League Park.
The Chiefs reduced the deficit to 29 points with late tries to Debreczeni and Brown.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford