Ryan Crotty scored a hat-trick as the Crusaders thrashed the Highlanders 47-19 in Greymouth on Friday.
The game was over as a contest by the end of the first half with the Crusaders racing to a 35-0 lead. Crotty scored three tries in 26 minutes as the Highlanders’ defence battled to cope with Crusaders’ attack.
Highlanders assistant coach Simon Culhane agreed that the hit-out had revealed some defensive weaknesses.
‘We were sorry second in the first half – we didn’t get a lot of ball and they got pretty easy gainline and capitalised from it,’ Culhane said. ‘Our personnel changes in the second half helped. The guys needed to have a game.’