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The Crusaders ran in four tries as they produced a forceful display to crush the Reds 38-9 and book a place in the Super Rugby semi-finals.
Ryan Crotty grabbed a brace while Dan Carter and Tom Marshall both touched down as the Christchurch-based franchise reached the final four with an emphatic performance which combined pace and power on Saturday.
It was the hosts who seized the early initiative as Carter opened his points tally in the third minute as the Reds were penalised for indiscipline at the breakdown.
All Black fly-half Carter then combined with Israel Dagg, who used his turn of pace to expose a vulnerable Reds defence before Kieran Read was held up on the line as the Crusaders raced through the gears.
There was no need for replay footage moments later when Crotty sliced open the Reds back line after a pin-point pass from Andy Ellis off the back of the scrum. The outside centre timed his run perfectly before bursting through a Jono Lance tackle on his way over the line for the opening try of the match.
Quade Cooper finally got the Reds on the scoreboard midway through the opening period with a three-pointer as he became only the 15th player to pass 600 Super Rugby points. Cooper's opposite number Carter, also a member of the 600-club, soon restored the Crusader's ten-point lead as he made light work of a scrum penalty.
The Crusaders continued to push into Reds territory as flanker George Whitelock made a forceful break before finally being brought to ground. Ellis swiftly recycled possession before the Crusaders spun the ball wide to Carter, who pressed the accelerator to leave the Reds defence in disarray as he completed his 33rd Super Rugby try.
Carter was once again the benefactor of Reds indiscipline on the cusp of half-time as Ed Quirk was penalised for holding on, allowing the 31-year-old to further his account as the Crusaders entered the break 21-6 up.
Wallaby number 10 Cooper continued his consistent performance from the tee as he dissected the uprights moments after the restart to reduce the deficit by three while his teammates struggled to find any rhythm.
The New Zealanders soon asserted their authority on the second period when Israel Dagg drew in two Reds defenders to open the door for Wyatt Crockett. Crockett was unable to break the tackles but could offload to Marshall who subsequently dove over for a third Crusaders try.
Ewen McKenzie's side found their stride midway through the half as they made strong advances into Crusaders territory but failed to capitalise on ground made. First Radike Samo was adjudged to have fallen short before winger Dom Shipperley knocked on as the Reds squandered numerous opportunities to launch a comeback.
The atmosphere lifted in the Christchurch Stadium with the introduction of All Black skipper Richie McCaw who made an immediate impact as the Crusaders won the line-out before Carter made yet another break to find Crotty who slipped through to double his tally for the evening.
With 10 minutes remaining on the clock Carter departed to a generous reception, leaving kicking duties to Tom Taylor, who duly added three points to the hosts tally as the lead extended to 29 points.
As the siren beckoned, time was running out as the Reds season came to a crashing halt as they failed to compete with a commanding Crusaders side.
The knock-out stage salvo means Todd Blackadder's men march into the Super Rugby semi-finals where they will face either the Chiefs or Bulls depending on results in Sunday's play-off.Super 15. Click here to bet.
|Friday 25th April|
|06:35||Blues vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Chiefs|
|18:10||Sharks vs Highlanders|
|Saturday 26th April|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Reds|
|10:40||Western Force vs Bulls|
|16:05||Cheetahs vs Stormers|
|Friday 2nd May|
|08:35||Blues vs Reds|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Sharks|
|Saturday 3rd May|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Brumbies|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Lions|
|10:40||Waratahs vs Hurricanes|
|14:00||Stormers vs Highlanders|
|16:05||Bulls vs Cheetahs|
|Friday 9th May|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Blues|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 10th May|
|08:35||Highlanders vs Lions|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Sharks|
|16:05||Cheetahs vs Western Force|
|18:10||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 11th May|
|07:05||Reds vs Crusaders|
|Friday 16th May|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Highlanders|
|Saturday 17th May|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Sharks|
|10:40||Reds vs Melbourne Rebels|
|15:05||Stormers vs Western Force|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Brumbies|
|Saturday 19th April|
|Stormers 18 - 3 Lions|
|Sharks 19 - 8 Cheetahs|
|Waratahs 19 - 12 Bulls|
|Chiefs 17 - 18 Crusaders|
|Friday 18th April|
|Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force|
|Hurricanes 39 - 20 Blues|
|Saturday 12th April|
|Lions 12 - 25 Sharks|
|Cheetahs 31 - 52 Crusaders|
|Western Force 28 - 16 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne Rebels|
|Friday 11th April|
|Reds 20 - 23 Brumbies|
|Highlanders 27 - 20 Bulls|
|Saturday 5th April|
|Stormers 11 - 22 Waratahs|
|Lions 7 - 28 Crusaders|
|Cheetahs 43 - 43 Chiefs|
|Reds 29 - 32 Western Force|
|Hurricanes 25 - 20 Bulls|
|Friday 4th April|
|Brumbies 26 - 9 Blues|
|Highlanders 33 - 30 Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 29th March|
|Sharks 32 - 10 Waratahs|
|Bulls 34 - 34 Chiefs|
|Reds 22 - 17 Stormers|
|Blues 30 - 12 Highlanders|
|Friday 28th March|
|Melbourne Rebels 32 - 24 Brumbies|
|Crusaders 26 - 29 Hurricanes|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com