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Seven-try Crusaders overwhelm Cheetahs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/04/2017

The Crusaders have made it nine wins from nine but victory may have come at a cost with All Blacks captain Kieran Read forced off with a thumb injury.

He was taken to hospital for scans, with the results not yet known after afree-flowing Crusaders outfit ran in seven tries for a 48-21 win over the Cheetahs to cement their Super Rugby top spot.

Winger George Bridge scored three tries while winger David Havili bagged a double in a match at Bloemfontein laced with long-range attacks from both teams.

The Cheetahs crossed three times but couldn't prevent a sixth straight loss to further diminish their play-off hopes.

The hosts missed 43 tackles, allowing the Crusaders backs ample room to show their wares. Powerful left winger Bridge was the chief recipient, lifting his season tally to seven tries.

Victory was a fitting result for workhorse flanker Matt Todd in his 100th Super Rugby game.

Another black mark was late ill-discipline which resulted in yellow cards to Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock and reserve back Mitchell Hunt.

All Blacks lock Whitelock was punished for an elbow to the face of Cheetahs reserve prop Charles Marais, after being tackled in mid-air while fielding a kick-off.

His side finished with 13 men, allowing Sergeal Petersen to score a try on the stroke of fulltime.

Fellow winger Raymond Rhule scored the only first-half try for the Cheetahs, who trailed 22-7 at the break, while dynamic prop Ox Nche crossed in the second spell.

Havili bagged the Crusader's opener after a series of early chances were botched before Bridge crossed twice in succession.

Their four second-half tries came in the space of 20 minutes, with first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga and reserve halfback Mitchell Drummond joining Havili and Bridge on the scoresheet.

Patchy finishing prevented the Crusaders from posting 50 points against the Cheetahs for a third successive time.

The Kiwis will look to make it 10 in a row against the Bulls in Pretoria next weekend.

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