Crusaders move to top after 40-20 win over Highlanders

Sevu Reece was one of the try-scorer for Crusaders
Sevu Reece was one of the try-scorer for Crusaders
©Steve Haag

Highlanders 20-40 Crusaders, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Crusaders have claimed the top position in the Super Rugby Aotearoa table after beating Highlanders 20-40 in the fourth round at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

This is Crusaders' third win from as many games while Highlanders are at third place after losing two from three matches.

Richie Mo'unga started the proceedings with a 10th minute penalty goal and five minutes later Will Jordan crossed over to take the visitors to a eight point lead.

The home side responded back strong with Shannon Frizell breaching the defenders of Crusaders for their opening try in the 20th minute and five minutes Aaron Smith capitalised on the loose ball to allow Ngane Punivai go over the line. Mitch Hunt kicked both the conversions to make it 14-8.

Mo'unga's back to back penalties in the 31st and 35th minutes helped Crusaders level the scores but Hunt's three-pointer at the stroke of half-time provided a three point lead for Highlanders at the end of the first half.

Crusaders once again seized the lead with Tom Christie touching down in the 50th minute and Mo'unga improved it to make it 17-21 but Hunt with another penalty kick in the 57th minute kept Highlanders in the game, bringing the gap down to one point.

Just as the game was running close, Sevu Reece's try in the 60th minute provided Crusaders an edge heading into the final quarter before Christie and Jordan touched down each for the second time in the game in the final three minutes to complete a 20 point victory for the defending champions.

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