Crusaders beat Moana Pasifika, go second in Super Rugby
The Christchurch-based Crusaders fielded an understrength team but still took a vital bonus point from a 41-7 win over Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific.
A week after losing 71-22 to the Wellington-based Hurricanes, Moana Pasifika conceded six tries in losing their last home match of the season at Mt Smart Stadium.
For the Crusaders, the win hoisted them to second place at the start of the 13th round.
The Crusaders were able to rest many of their front-line players but still get the job done, keeping up with their rivals in the contest for top-four places.
Four of the Crusaders' tries came in the first half after which they led 29-0.
They managed only two tries to one in a second half which was much more evenly contested.
"Our focus was to start well, especially playing into a stiff breeze that required us forwards to set the play," Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said.
"I thought we did that quite well to start with.
"Moana showed a bit of physicality towards the end there.
"I'm just pleased with how this group went.
"There were quite a lot of young boys here and they rolled their sleeves up tonight with a lot of effort."
Moana Pasifika defended more effectively in the second half and the Crusaders had to go to their lineout drive to score again through hooker Brodie McAlister.
Tima Fainga'anuku put Moana Pasifika on the board with a try in the 53rd minute but Scott Barrett added a final try for the Crusaders who were bruised by a physical encounter.
The Crusaders now are four points behind the first-place Chiefs at the start of the second round, but with all of the other top-five teams still to play.