Crusaders 57-24 Stormers: George Bridge hat-trick helps unbeaten Crusaders blitz visitors
Last Updated: 22/04/17 2:50pm
George Bridge bagged a hat-trick as the Crusaders juggernaut rumbled over the Stormers 57-24 in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch on Saturday.
Kieran Read added two tries and Michael Alaalatoa, Pete Samu and Manasa Mataele also made their way over the line as the Crusaders mounted an eight-try stampede to remain unbeaten after eight matches.
It was a record score for the Crusaders over the Stormers and was built on a spree of outlandish off-loads which saw the Crusaders race to a 36-3 lead by half-time.
The Stormers, who have now suffered back-to-back losses after falling to the Lions last week, started out determined to record their first win in Christchurch.
They dominated the first 10 minutes and led 3-0 courtesy of a Robert du Preez penalty.
But the first time the Crusaders were able to mount an attack of consequence, Bridge scored the first of his tries to open the floodgates.
"I don't think we touched the ball for the first 10-15 minutes but when we did get our hands on it we used it well," captain Sam Whitelock said.
"There's a couple of things we need to work on. They're a big side, big forwards and they put us under some pressure, stole a couple of lineouts."
Stormers captain Eben Etzebeth saw too many errors in his side's performance.
"In the second half for the first 10 minutes we played some good footy but in the end they just blew us off the park," he said.
"Back-to-back defeats is not what we wanted. We have to go back to the drawing board."
As the Crusaders shredded the Stormers defensive wall, Bridge completed his treble in the space of 20 minutes.
Read closed the first half with a try in the left corner then one in the right and his night was done with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson benching the All Blacks back rower for the second half.
But the Stormers were not done. They opened up the second half with a 60-metre intercept try to Cheslin Kolbe followed by a try to left wing Bjorn Basson with conversions from du Preez closing the gap to 36-17.
That woke the Crusaders from their third quarter slumber and in a three-minute burst, Alaalatoa crashed home from close range before Pete Samu produced an 80-metre intercept try with Richie Mo'unga's conversion bringing up the 50 points.
Frans Malherbe and Manasa Mataele traded tries in the closing stages.
The Crusaders next week head to South Africa to play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein while the Stormers play the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Highlanders vs Stormers
April 28, 2017, 8:30am