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Crusaders crush Sunwolves in Super Rugby

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/04/2017

The Crusaders have racked up their seventh consecutive win of the Super Rugby season with a comprehensive 50-3 triumph over the Sunwolves in Christchurch on Friday.

The hosts ran in eight tries, including a first-half hat-trick to winger Manasa Mataele, as they comprehensively outplayed the Japanese outfit - in their first match on New Zealand soil.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read opened the scoring after 13 minutes, powering over from an attacking lineout in his first game of the Super Rugby season.

The Sunwolves lost influential No.8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco to concussion soon after, further weakening their ability to compete at the set piece.

Hooker Ben Funnell added a second try on 24 minutes, the Crusaders building phases and keeping play tight in the greasy conditions to open a 14-0 lead.

They were down to 14 men four minutes later, wing Seta Tamanivalu binned for tackling Sunwolves fullback Kotaro Matsushima in the air as he gathered a high ball.

However, the visitors could only capitalise through a Yu Tamura penalty as the half-hour mark approached.

The Sunwolves continued to gift the Crusaders too much ball with poor tactical kicking, the hosts making the most of it with Mataele crossing three times in 10 minutes.

The first came courtesy of a miracle Pete Samu offload, the second after quick hands created an overlap out wide and the third finished off a scything counter attack.

Fresh from a bye and leading 29-3 at the break, the Crusaders continued to run in the tries for the first 20 minutes of the second spell.

Samu dived in between the posts in the 46th minute, replacement winger George Bridge and No.8 Whetu Douglas crossed in rapid succession as the Crusaders looked about to run riot.

The Sunwolves, who last week beat the Bulls 21-20 in Tokyo, struggled to get their hands on any ball and spent most of the second spell pinned inside their own half.

Although the Crusaders couldn't add to their tally, spending the final 20 minutes scoreless, they remained untroubled as they extended their lead at the top of the standings.

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