The Crusaders have sailed to the top of the Super Rugby log for the moment, following a comfortable victory over the Highlanders in a New Zealand derby in Christchurch. The 10 time champions claimed a bonus point 33-13 victory over their South Island neighbours.
The Highlanders would have been quietly confident after their buzzer-beater win over the Brumbies last week, but it’s the Crusaders who have dominated their previous encounters. The Saders have played the Landers 37 times in Super Rugby since 1996 and they have won 25, lost 11 and drawn only once.
Their record at home is even more formidable, having won their last 32 Super Rugby matches and it was no different for the hosts in this match.
The three-time defending champions were clinical in the opening stanza, taking full advantage of the visitor’s mistakes. They ran in four tries taking a commanding 26-8 lead into half-time.
The Highlanders, who claimed the Super Rugby title in 2015, put up more resistance in the second half scoring their second try.
It was never going to be enough to catch-up to the Saders or prevent them from crossing the white-wash a fifth time, picking up a bonus point with some clever play from a set-piece.
The victory sees the three-time defending champions climb to the top of the Super Rugby log on 14 points although the Chiefs and Stormers are both on 13 and are yet to play in round four.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, stay bottom of the New Zealand Conference, having won only one of their three matches.