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- 19th May 2012
- KO 08:35
- Ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Crusaders crush Blues
Seven-time champions run in nine tries in dominant display
The Crusaders bounced back to winning ways with a 59-12 trouncing of the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday.
The seven-time champions, shocked 28-19 by the Rebels last time out, ran in nine tries during a dominant display at AMI Stadium to record their highest score against their traditional Super Rugby foes.
It was the perfect response after having strips torn off them earlier in the week by coach Todd Blackadder for the manner of their defeat in Melbourne.
Little has gone right for the Blues this season and it was the wrong week to run into the rampant red-and-black machine, who will gain a lot of momentum from the bonus-point victory, even if it did come against the competition's strugglers.
The Crusaders' scrum had the Blues backpedalling on several occasions, and they stole a number of line-out throws off the opposition throw and used the platform up front to unleash their firepower out wide.
All Blacks lynchpin Dan Carter resumed kicking duties in the No.10 jersey in encouraging style ahead of the upcoming three-Test series against Ireland next month, booting six of eight conversions including a couple from near the touchline before earning a rest in the final quarter.
The All Black-laden pack also flexed their muscles, with uncapped lock Luke Romano in particular pushing his case with a try and another fine display next to Test certainty Sam Whitelock.
The forwards deserved the majority of the accolades and they got most of the tangible rewards as well with five of the nine tries scored by the big men, including a double to hooker Corey Flynn.
They had their fourth try and a bonus point wrapped up by the 36th minute, added another before half-time for a 31-0 advantage, then ran in four more in the second half.
For the Blues, hardly anything went their way. They kicked aimlessly, fell off tackles, their forwards were shunted back with alarming regularity and the backs tried things that did not look like coming off.
In further bad news on the injury front, something which has plagued them throughout 2012, Benson Stanley left the field concussed in the 10th minute - an injury that left the Blues short and allowed the Crusaders to score their second try.
The exception to the rule was a double to Lachie Munro, both of which were sustained efforts by the Blues from long-range.
Pat Lam's men are unlikely to fall back into a cellar-dwelling situation, given the Lions will struggle to beat the resurgent Reds in Brisbane, but will take little solace from it given they now have a record of two wins and 10 losses.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders leapfrogged back over the Highlanders into second in the New Zealand conference and fifth overall, with a bye next week and the southern derby at home to follow before a three-week break for the Ireland Tests.