Crusaders overpower Kings


The huge Fijian wing scored two of the Crusaders' tries and was the battering ram who paved the way for several others as they Kings defence fell apart.

It was a game the Crusaders, coming off the bye, were expected to win with ease and coach Todd Blackadder used the occasion to make nine changes and blood several fringe players.

But with the rearrangement, which included resting incoming All Blacks captain Kieran Read, it was not a promising start for the Crusaders who found themselves down 10 points down after 11 minutes.

“There was a bit of rust there,” captain Sam Whitelock said, adding the new combinations took time to settle in.

“The boys were pumped up and really wanted to play so we had to try and keep them back and play with a bit of structure.”

Louis Fouche opened the scoring for the Kings with a handy penalty and then converted Luzuko Vulindlu's runaway try after the right wing intercepted a loose Wyatt Crockett Pass.

However, once the seven-times champion Crusaders settled down their dominance could not be denied as they ran in four tries before half-time to lead 29-10 at the turn.

Nadolo was primed to charge at the Kings, drawing in defenders to open gaps wide out. He bulldozed his way to the line twice, while Ben Funnell touched down at the end of a long-range build up, Johnny McNicholl matched Vulindlu's runaway effort and Richie Mo'unga added nine points off the boot.

The Crusaders continued to pile on the pressure at the start of the second half, sweeping the field with multiple passing movements resulting in tries to Mo'unga and Mitchell Drummond to extend the lead to 43-10.

Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Kings continued to battle away and Edgar Marutlulle, who scored twice against the Chiefs last week, came off the bench to touch down.

Further sustained pressure from the Kings, however, was meet with determined Crusaders defence until an eventual turnover produced another length-of-the-field move which ended with a try to Jone Macilai-Tori.

Chris Cloete scored a third try for the Kings before replacement Pete Samu scored the Crusaders eighth try after another Nadolo drive at the line.

The Crusaders now head to South Africa to play the Sharks and the Lions while the Kings play the Hurricanes in Wellington next weekend before heading back to South Africa to face the Sunwolves. – AFP

Original source: Crusaders overpower Kings