CRUSADERS HUMILIATE REBELS
The Crusaders have kept pace with the Chiefs at the top of Super Rugby’s New Zealand conference by thumping the Melbourne Rebels 8526 in Christchurch last night.
The home side ran in 13 tries to four, with wing Johnny McNicholl getting a hat-trick, as they celebrated standin skipper Sam Whitelock’s 100th match in style. With one round to go, the Crusaders are back to a point behind the Chiefs, who had secured their own bonuspoint victory on Friday against the Queensland Reds. But the Crusaders, smarting from their loss to the Chiefs in Suva, had plenty to play for. With regular captain Kieran Read given a rest, Whitelock led from the front, with the lock charging forward from the kick-off and then scoring the first try inside two minutes. The Crusaders continued to show plenty of attacking intent as they went on to run in seven tries in the opening spell, with centre Ryan Crotty grabbing a double. They were helped by handling errors, turnovers and missed tackles by the Rebels, who also struggled at set-piece. The visitors had something to