The Crusaders wacked the Western Force 36-19 on Saturday, after leading 17-12 at the break.
The champions, who fielded a host of All Blacks including skipper Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Aaron Mauger, were made to fight all the way by the Super 14 rookies.
Crusaders winger Steven Yates scored a double before the break with McCaw grabbing his side’s third as he took the ball from a maul and dived across the line.
Force coach John Mitchell made seven changes at half-time, giving Nathan Sharpe and hooker Brendan Cannon their first run of the year.
However, the Crusaders scored soon after half-time when Nathan Mauger charged down a Lachlan MacKay kick to score in the 44th minute. They then extended that lead through tries from winger Scott Hamilton and Tim Taylor.
The Force’s only second half points came in the 69th minute after a line-out five metres out, with prop Angus Scott scoring off a rolling maul.