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Crusaders claimed a commanding 23-3 victory over Blues in Saturday's Super Rugby derby clash at a wet AMI Stadium.
The hosts were struck by a blow before kick-off when Corey Flynn pulled out with a hamstring injury, which meant Ben Funnell got a start.
While the scoreline remained deadlocked until 23 minutes, it was not lacking in entertainment value as Luke Romano and Rene Ranger ran well.
The Crusaders did have an opportunity to open matters on 10 minutes but full-back Tom Taylor, again preferred to All Black Israel Dagg, was wayward in the rain.
He did make amends though for that aforementioned effort after veteran Ali Williams had offended via side entry at ruck time.
Todd Blackadder's men would not have to wait long for their next points too as Chris Noakes was charged down in his own 22 by Ryan Crotty, who went over. Taylor's extras further extended the lead to 10 points as the Blues suddenly found themselves adrift.
Noakes cut that lead down to seven soon after following a no-arms tackle from Romano.
In truth that 10-3 scoreline would have been a fair reflection of how the first-half played out at AMI Stadium, but the opening 40 minutes ended with drama when Zac Guildford's pass to Romano on the left wing was deliberately slapped down by Culum Retallick.
That handed Taylor three points and the offending Blues second-row a 10 minute spell in the sin-bin.
The Crusaders returned for the second-half in good form and were in for their second try on 48 minutes when Owen Franks barged over on the back of a maul. Taylor's conversion and then a further penalty seven minutes later extended matters to 23-3.
And that was how things stayed until the final whistle as, despite Frank Halai going close on the right wing, the Crusaders kept their try-line uncrossed in an authoritative performance.
Victory leaves the outfit from Christchurch six points off the Chiefs, who they face next Friday.
|Friday 14th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Stormers|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Crusaders|
|Saturday 15th March|
|03:35||Hurricanes vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Western Force|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Waratahs|
|13:00||Lions vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Reds|
|Friday 21st March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 22nd March|
|06:35||Blues vs Cheetahs|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Stormers|
|11:00||Western Force vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Lions vs Reds|
|17:10||Bulls vs Sharks|
|Friday 28th March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|Saturday 29th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Reds vs Stormers|
|13:00||Bulls vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Waratahs|
|Friday 4th April|
|07:35||Highlanders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:40||Brumbies vs Blues|
|Saturday 5th April|
|07:35||Hurricanes vs Bulls|
|09:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|13:00||Cheetahs vs Chiefs|
|Saturday 8th March|
|Sharks 37 - 23 Lions|
|Bulls 38 - 22 Blues|
|Western Force 32 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Crusaders 14 - 13 Stormers|
|Friday 7th March|
|Reds 43 - 33 Cheetahs|
|Hurricanes 21 - 29 Brumbies|
|Saturday 1st March|
|Bulls 25 - 17 Lions|
|Western Force 14 - 27 Brumbies|
|Waratahs 32 - 5 Reds|
|Chiefs 21 - 19 Highlanders|
|Friday 28th February|
|Stormers 19 - 18 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 35 - 14 Cheetahs|
|Blues 35 - 24 Crusaders|
|Sunday 23rd February|
|Waratahs 43 - 21 Western Force|
|Saturday 22nd February|
|Lions 34 - 10 Stormers|
|Sharks 27 - 9 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 17 - 27 Reds|
|Highlanders 29 - 21 Blues|
|Friday 21st February|
|Cheetahs 15 - 9 Bulls|
|Crusaders 10 - 18 Chiefs|
|Saturday 15th February|
|Sharks 31 - 16 Bulls|
|Cheetahs 20 - 21 Lions|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com