Super Rugby: Blues beat Crusaders 35-24 in Auckland
Last Updated: 28/02/14 2:13pm
Crusaders slipped to an 0-2 start in this year's Super Rugby competition as they fell to a surprise 35-24 defeat at Eden Park in Auckland to the Blues.
Todd Blackadder's team also conceded over 30 points last year as they lost 34-15 in Auckland, and there's a definite case of history repeating as they endure another sluggish start to the competition.
It was not a sluggish start to the game by the Crusaders though, who began well and quickly opened up a 17-3 lead, but they were blown away by the response from the Blues.
The hosts notched up four tries in a devastating 13-minute blitz either side of the half-time break, and that had the Crusaders in all kinds of trouble.
They could never recover despite stemming the tide of the scoring, and a late try was a mere consolation as they suffered what was a surprise loss.
It was a good start for the visitors though and they moved ahead quickly thanks to tries from Corey Flynn and Colin Slade in the first half hour of the contest.
The Blues came storming back however and the Crusaders were visibly rattled as they failed to contain the home waves of attack as the hosts piled up four unanswered tries to take control.
Frank Halai, Tevita Li, George Moala and Jackson Willison all crossed the line for the Blues in the space of 13 minutes either side of half-time.
Simon Hickey converted three of those tries and also booted a 54th-minute penalty to put the Blues in cruise control with a 32-17 advantage.
The Crusaders were left to rue several mistakes, and decisions to turn down easy penalty kicks as their game plan was thrown out of the window by the Blues' burst, while they were obviously missing Dan Carter.
Ryan Crotty did cross the line for a third Crusaders try to cut the gap to nine points with just eight minutes remaining, but Hickey kicked a third penalty right on the final whistle to secure the victory.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 3
The Bulls eased past the Lions 25-17 to record their first Super Rugby victory of 2014 at Loftus Versfeld.
Two tries from Israel Folau helped New South Wales Waratahs to a crushing 32-5 victory against Queensland Reds.
The Chiefs maintained their perfect start to Super Rugby by coming from behind to beat the Highlanders 21-19.