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Macilai stars as Crusaders crush Reds

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/05/2016

Jone Macilai of the Crusaders (C) and his teammates celebrate scoring a try during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Reds at AMI Stadium on May 6, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images Jone Macilai of the Crusaders (C) and his teammates celebrate scoring a try during the round 11 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Reds at AMI Stadium on May 6, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand A Jone Macilai hat-trick has set up the Crusaders for a 38-5 victory over the Reds in Christchurch to chalk up their eighth consecutive win of the Super Rugby season.

The 25-year-old Fijian was everywhere at AMI Stadium in the six-try win - when he wasn't scoring tries, he was setting them up, and his speed and strength constantly stretched the Reds defence.

The Crusaders were ruthless right from the first whistle, creating space then shifting the ball wide for Macilai to finish off a move in the fifth minute before repeating the dose soon after.

First five-eighth Richie Mo'unga played an important part in both with incisive running, while Israel Dagg and Kieron Fonotia also featured with quick hands and slick offloading.

The Crusaders swept in for their second from long range, slicing through the disorganised Reds defence from 50 metres out to put put Macilai over for his second and a 14-0 lead after eight minutes.

Strong work at the breakdown allowed the Crusaders to pilfer a steady supply of ruck ball, and their defence was rock-solid whenever the Reds looked threatening.

The visitors didn't lack for possession, but struggled to build phases or pressure and struggled to threaten the Crusaders line.

Seven minutes before halftime, halfback Mitchell Drummond quick-stepped his way through the Reds backline before finding Macilai who offloaded for lock Scott Barrett to crash over.

Ahead 21-0 at halftime, the Crusaders took barely three minutes from the restart to extend their lead, sharp passing from an attacking lineout setting up Macilai for his third.

Three minutes later, the Reds were finally on the board after centre Campbell Magnay chased down a cheeky chip ahead from 70 metres out to score next to the posts.

But Macilai continued to make the Reds' life miserable, charging down Jake McIntyre's conversion attempt.

The Crusaders added two more tries, flanker Jordan Taufua crossing in the 63rd minute after wrong-footing wing Eto Nabuli with a mesmerising dummy, then Codie Taylor forcing the ball in the depths of a lineout drive with five minutes remaining.

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