Crusaders 30-12 Hurricanes: Super Rugby champions clinch final spot after comfortable win
By Simon Mail
Last Updated: 28/07/18 12:35pm
Super Rugby champions Crusaders are one win away from retaining their title after cruising to a 30-12 win over the Hurricanes in their semi-final.
The Crusaders opened the scoring with a converted try from fly-half Richie Mo'unga but this was almost immediately cancelled out by Julian Savea's finish for the Hurricanes.
George Bridge's 15th try of the season restored the hosts' lead just before the half-hour mark. Two penalties from Mo'unga handed the Crusaders an 18-7 lead at the break.
David Havili scored at the start of the second half for the Crusaders to give them a commanding lead and a score from replacement Braydon Ennor rounded off the win before a late try from Ben Lam for the visitors.
Mo'unga was in exceptional form for the Crusaders and he made his mark on the game early on as he sped away to score under the posts before converting the try.
The Hurricanes produced an immediate response though with winger Savea grounding the ball in the corner to level the contest.
But the Crusaders took control of the contest and built a convincing lead, with the lively Bridge finishing off an attacking move. Two Mo'unga penalties stretched the champions' lead heading into the second half.
Scott Robertson's side came out strongly after the break and full-back Havili pounced from close range to extend their lead to 25-7.
The Hurricanes could not make any inroads despite a spell of possession and their ruthless opponents scored their final try, with replacement Ennor touching down after a superb cross-kick from Mo'unga.
The visitors ended the match with Lam racing over the line to break the record for most tries in a Super Rugby season as the winger scored his 16th of the campaign.
The Crusaders will have home advantage in next weekend's final and head into the decider on a run of 14 consecutive wins in the competition.