WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Mar 9 – The Canterbury Crusaders latest fullback find Will Jordan scored two tries and Sevu Reece made the most of his lifeline as the Super Rugby champions flattened the Waikato Chiefs 57-28 in Christchurch on Saturday.
All Blacks’ hooker Codie Taylor, in his first outing of the year, also scored twice in the nine-tries-to-four romp.
It kept the reigning champions unbeaten and extended their winning streak to 19 matches while the 2012 and 2013 champion Chiefs remain winless after four rounds.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Crusaders did go off the boil in the closing minutes which Taylor said was a concern.
“We slacked off last week against the Reds and so we played a good 65 minutes today which was awesome to see, but we’ve still got a lot to work on in that last 15. It seems to be a habit at the moment,” he said.
Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown said his side made too many errors to be competitive.
“The Crusaders were just too good. Every error we made they punished us,” he said.
Former Waikato player Reece, making his Crusaders debut after having a contract with Irish club Connacht axed due to a court appearance on an assault charge, was instrumental in two quick tries to give the red-and-blacks an early 12-point buffer.
The 21-year-old Jordan then stepped up with his exceptional pace and precise support lines to have a role in three more tries before the break.
The bruising local derby inflicted casualties, with a crunching tackle by Nepo Laulala on fellow All Blacks frontrower Joe Moody forcing Moody from the field inside the first five minutes.
The Crusaders first two tries were the result of Reece outsmarting Damian McKenzie.
He was perfectly placed to field a McKenzie cross-kick and mount a counter-attack which resulted in the first try to Braydon Ennor and he intercepted a McKenzie pass to score the second.
But the Crusaders pack, with Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd and Owen Franks on All Blacks-enforced rest, along with Moody injured, were under pressure at scrum time.
It resulted in a Chiefs’ try to backrower Taleni Seu to narrow the gap to 12-7 before the Crusaders stepped up a gear with two tries to Jordan and one to hulking hooker Andrew Makalio — to lead 33-7 at half-time.
Prop Michael Alaalatoa rumbled over after the resumption for the Crusaders to extend their lead to 40 points.
The Chiefs used their scrum power to set up their second try, to left wing Etene Nanai-Seturo.
The Crusaders hit back with two tries to Taylor and one to Bryn Hall before the Chiefs finished off with tries to Jack Debreczeni and Mitchell Brown.