A 31-point haul by Richie Mo’unga, including three tries, inspired the Crusaders to a commanding 63-28 win over the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
Dubbed the “battle of champions”, New Zealand’s premier team ensured the blockbuster contest in Brisbane was an anti-climax after running in eight tries to four.
Star Richie Mo’unga dominated the stunned Reds with his first ever hat-trick.
The one-sided result continued the stranglehold of New Zealand teams, who are unbeaten after two rounds of the new-format tournament.
A Bryce Heem hat-trick headlined a rampant Auckland Blues 48-21 victory over the NSW Waratahs while the Waikato Chiefs whipped the ACT Brumbies 40-19 in the earlier fixtures.
‘The mindset was there from the start and we fronted up for the whole game,’ Crusaders stand-in captain Codie Taylor said.
Reds co-captain Liam Wright paid tribute to the Crusaders, who have not lost to the Brisbane side since 2011.
‘They were clinical and pounced on every little mistake,’ he said.
The Crusaders underlined the growing divide in the tournament with a stunning early blitz, where they ran in four sizzling tries within the opening 30 minutes.
The Reds, who were riding an 11-game home winning streak, suffered their second straight hefty defeat since triumphing in Super Rugby AU.
© Agence France-Presse