Super Rugby
Crusaders hammered in emphatic fashion
ESPN Staff
February 28, 2015
Date/Time: Feb 28, 2015, 19:35 local, 06:35 GMT
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders
Half-time: 22 - 9
Tries: Lowe, Marshall, Ngatai, Pulu, Williams
Cons: Cruden 3
Pens: Cruden 3
Tries: Ellis
Cons: Slade
Pens: Slade 3
Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs leaps over the tackle of Mitchell Drummond of the Crusaders, Chiefs v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, February 28, 2015
Aaron Cruden takes on the Crusaders defence
© Getty Images

As declarations of Super Rugby title intent go, they don't get much bolder than the Chiefs' 40-16 thumping of the Crusaders. Playing with power and a high skill level that the seven-time champions couldn't match, the Chiefs scored five tries to one in a performance which became more lop-sided as the game in Hamilton wore on.

Five-eighth Aaron Cruden kicked 15 points while the man outside him, Sonny Bill Williams, scored their opening try and threw the last pass for two others. The bonus-point win lifts the Chiefs to 13 points, level atop the standings with the Hurricanes, who share the same three-from-three record.

The Crusaders will head into a bye week with a second loss from three games and with time to reflect on one of the heaviest losses in their proud history.

It was the first time in 26 meetings the Chiefs have scored more than 30 points against the Crusaders, and it could have been more if they had been more accurate with some of their late attacks. The manner of their win suggests the Chiefs are getting back to the form that carried them to titles in 2012 and 2013 before being knocked over early in the play-offs last season.

Their only negative was the sight of All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick leaving the ground in the 10th minute favouring his shoulder. The world player of the year in 2014, Retallick was hardly missed as the Chiefs forwards took command in most areas.

The game started in feisty fashion, featuring several scuffles and a yellow card each to Chiefs wing James Lowe and Crusaders captain and flanker Matt Todd, both for rash tackles. Crusaders five-eighth Colin Slade landed two early penalties but the Chiefs took control after Williams and halfback Augustine Pulu both scored close-range tries. A superb long pass from Sam Cane put centre Charlie Ngatai over to hand the hosts a 22-9 lead at half-time.

The Crusaders threatened a comeback when experienced reserve halfback Andy Ellis scored his first try since returning from a season in Japan. However, it was one-way traffic over the last 25min as Cruden slotted two penalties before tries were created for fullback Tom Marshall and lively wing Lowe.

Chiefs 40-16 Crusaders (video available in Australia only)

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