Crusaders crush Reds in Super statement

Sat, 22/05/2021, 08:00 am
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP
It's the battle of the champs in Brisbane.

The Queensland Reds have proved no match for the Crusaders, losing 63-28 in a one-sided battle of the respective domestic Super Rugby champions in Brisbane.

Australia's Super Rugby flag bearers have been embarrassed by their New Zealand opposites, the Crusaders further exposing the gulf between the nations in a 63-28 thumping of the Queensland Reds.

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The flogging completed another perfect round for New Zealand opponents over Australian outfits, the head-to-head now 10-0 in a deflating fortnight since the highs of the Reds' dramatic domestic title win over the Brumbies.

Where the Reds fumbled and were shunted back in tackles, the Crusaders were razor-sharp, clear-minded and possessed a top gear that proved far too much for the Reds in Brisbane.

Mo'unga magic.

Form No.10 Richie Mo'unga did as he pleased for the visitors at Suncorp Stadium, scoring three tries to help the Crusaders post their highest total against the Reds and ensure the 2011 Super Rugby final loss to them remains their most recent.

Brad Thorn's side started promisingly, with Taniela Tupou spilling the ball over the line in the second minute.

But 12 minutes later it was 21-0, David Havili coming from nowhere to intercept and set up Cullen Grace after Mo'unga and Sevu Reece had already crossed.

Mo'unga ran in his second before Tate McDermott scampered over to briefly stop the rot, with Reds backrower Harry Wilson describing their efforts as "embarrassing" as he walked to the sheds at halftime.

McDermott on the snipe.

The hosts looked to steady in the second half but Reece exploited a bizarre rule to steal back possession, jumping from well outside the field of play to mark a penalty kick that looked to be sailing into touch and land back in-field.

He then ran onto a pin-point Havili cross-field kick, the lead swelling to 49-7 with two more tries before the 60th minute.

"These guys were the champs of their comp, so it was quite personal, champ verse champ," Mo'unga told Stan Sport post-game.

"There was hype previous to the game, but we were just ready to get stuck in.

"We knew there would be plenty of opportunities ... it was about picking them apart through the middle and playing eyes-up footy.

"We've got to be happy with that, against these guys and the threats they pose."

Wilson did his best to inspire the Reds, dummying as he raced down the wing to score then two minutes later charging down a kick and flicking a pass over his shoulder for Suliasi Vunivalu to cross for the third time in two games.

Sublime skills from Harry Wilson.

At 49-21 the Crusaders resumed normal service with two more tries, although the Reds added another consolation try and Vunivalu twice came close to a another double in a confident performance that would give Wallabies coach Dave Rennie at least something to ponder.

After conceding their highest total at the ground since 2007, Reds co-captain Liam Wright admitted that, after a heavy loss to the Highlanders last week, the Reds had plenty to improve on ahead of a trip to Townsville to face the Chiefs next Saturday.

"I'm proud of our guys for not giving up but we didn't execute well," he said.

"Going into halftime we didn't feel like we did too many things wrong, but everything we did wrong was punished."

CRUSADERS 63

TRIES: Mo'unga 3, Reece 2, Grace, Pen try, Williams, Taylor

CONS: Mo'unga 8

PENS:

REDS 28

TRIES: McDermott, Wilson, Vunivalu, Paenga-Amosa

CONS: O'Connor 4

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