Crusaders vs Force: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Force were comprehensively outplayed by the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight.

Here are five things we learned from the 45-17 result.

1. Crusaders keep on keeping on

There was no comeback required for the Christchurch outfit tonight, as they cruised to a wire-to-wire victory over the Force.

The visitors were valiant in defeat but the Crusaders never got out of third gear.Ryan Crotty and the Crusaders were never troubled tonight. Photo: Getty ImagesEven with 14 men, they looked in complete control.

Undefeated and a true title contender.

2. Newsome not shy in starting debut

Alex Newsome was among the Force's best tonight, scoring an intercept try and making an impact with every touch.

His seven runs accounted for 74 metres, one tackle bust and one line break.

3. Force pay price of poor line speed

The main reason the Crusaders never got out of third gear was the lack of defensive line speed by the Force.

The phases leading up to Newsome's intercept try looked like an opposed training run and there was little improvement in the second term.

4. Rolling maul reigns supreme

The Crusaders continue to use the rolling maul as their chief weapon. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Crusaders have scored more tries off rolling mauls than any Super Rugby team and that trend continued tonight.

Scott Barrett scored three phases after a big rolling maul and Codie Taylor's five pointer was a direct beneficiary of an unstoppable drive.

The Crusaders have used the maul in all three of their comebacks and continue to utilise it where possible, often opting to kick for touch rather than at goal.

5. Ioane the king of the wing

Ioane scored with his second touch of the ball and ran several of his trademark inside lines off the shoulder of Mitch Hunt.

When he's on there is no more explosive wing in Super Rugby.