George Whitelock scored three of the seven tries as the Crusaders punished the Kings in Christchurch.
The Crusaders got off to a great start, leading 31 – 13 at half time, before completing the rout 55 – 20.
The Crusaders scored at a point a minute for the first half hour, notching up the bonus point try before the break. The scoring did slow down in the second half with changes coming for both sides and the Kings gaining confidence as the match continued. Dan Carter’s boot helped the score along nicely, slotting 7 out of 7 kicks and adding 16 points to the tally.
The Kings allowed the Crusaders to run at them in the first half, waiting instead of putting the pressure with a rush defence. That said, a few of the tries came from a structured set piece, with the Crusaders forwards mauling over for three of the tries. Once the Kings put pressure on the Crusaders backline, they found the going tough, which showed in the scoring drying up.
Todd Blackadder used his full bench, thinking ahead to a tough tour to South Africa, bringing off the likes of Dan Carter and Owen Franks early on. Carter will stay in New Zealand, but Bleyendaal was used for half an hour to get him match ready for the tour. Kieran Read was used for most the match, which was surprising, but pulled up after injuring his toe. He is key to the Crusaders tour squad, and will be a big blow should he not be able to face the Stormers next week.
For the Kings, they expected this onslaught and showed guts in having to make 120 plus tackles again, but showed commitment in being bale to score two tries, and in the way in which they reacted to the Crusaders attack. Sergeal Petersen was targeted on defence and stood firm, taking down players twice his size. Demetri Catrakilis’ performance was one of confidence and made a nice break or two himself. The team will take confidence into their next tour match, being against the Hurricanes.
By Richard Ferguson