Crusaders blast past Kings
Seven tries lead the Crusaders to a 55-20 victory over the Kings in Christchurch on Saturday, with George Whitelock scoring a hat-trick.
The Kings battled bravely in the second half but the damage was done after the opening 50 minutes, as the Crusaders capitalised on multiple set-piece opportunities through the power of their pack.
Using their maul to great effect, the Crusaders strength and organisation in that area was exceptional throughout, with Dan Carter adding another 16 points off the boot before he departed on 50 minutes.
The Kings did manage to cross the whitewash themselves on two occasions but struggled in defence - outmuscled and outthought on a long evening as many predicted beforehand.
George Whitelock responded to an early penalty from Demetri Catrakilis with the first try of match, crashing over to the left of the posts - Carter's conversion bouncing in off the upright.
Wyatt Crockett added to the tally with the Crusaders second try, going over from close range after 15 minutes to extend the gap on the scoreboard to 17-3.
A slick break from Catrikilis set up an attack for the Kings in the hosts 22, but they settled for another penalty to stay in touch.
Whitelock then grabbed his second try of the game, crashing over as a result of good work from the Crusaders rolling maul after a five metre lineout, the hosts ticking along at a point a minute.
A penalty against the Kings for accidental offside handed the Crusaders another lineout inside the visitors 22, Willi Heinz sealing the try bonus point after 31 minutes with an inside dart past Catrakilis.
The Kings applied a period of sustained pressure on the hosts as the first half drew to a close, hitting back with a first ever try in New Zealand from Wimpie van der Walt driving over from the back of a rolling maul for the final score before half-time, 31-13 the score.
Carter added the first points of the second half with a penalty, before the Crusaders pack chalked up another powerful try, Matt Todd pouncing off the back of another maul to score the fifth.
Carter and Todd were both substituted with the game wrapped up, before replacement Luke Whitelock fended off Jaco Engels to add the Crusaders sixth try, Tyler Bleyendaal converting.
It took the Crusaders much longer to add further points but George Whitelock sealed his hat-trick on 77 minutes after appearing to be held up going over the line - bringing up the 50 for the hosts.
Kieran Read limped off in the dying minutes as the Kings had the final say, a length of the field try started and sealed by full-back George Whitehead adding some gloss to the scoreboard.
Try: G Whitelock 3, Crockett, Heinz, Todd, L Whitelock
Cons: Carter 5, Bleyendaal 2
Pens: Carter 2
Tries: van der Walt, Whitehead
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg. 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Zac Guildford
Kings: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Daniel Adongo, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c).
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Rynier Bernardo, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Elric van Vuuren.
Referee: Rohan Hoffman (Australia)