New Zealand’s record points scorer Dan Carter marked his 100th appearance for the Crusaders with a try as the seven-time Super Rugby champions romped to a 42-14 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington, New Zealand, yesterday.
Carter, continuing at inside center as he eases back into the side following the groin injury that ended his rugby World Cup campaign last year, ran in the second of his side’s five tries as the Crusaders cruised to a bonus-point win over a woeful Wellington side.
The Crusaders were too powerful around the field with captain and No. 8 Kieran Read leading the way in punching holes in the home side’s defense.
Their victory was aided by poor kicking and a weak Wellington set-piece as the home side avoided taking scrums after their pack were battered up front.
“The boys really stepped up, we knew that was an area we could put some real heat on them and this tight five is working really well,” Read said of his team’s scrum in a pitchside interview.
The victory, their fifth from eight games, moved the Crusaders above the Hurricanes into third in the New Zealand conference.
The Crusaders were in front after five minutes with Read on hand to run in an easy try after winger Zac Guilford’s offload as the Hurricanes started slow following a bye week.
Carter, who made his Crusaders debut against the same opponents nine years ago, ran in the second in the 21st minute, with his center partner Robbie Fruean crossing 10 minutes later in a move that summed up the Hurricanes’ poor first half.
The powerful Fruean leapt highest on halfway to collect a poor up-and-under kick from the home side and, despite the numerous players around him, waltzed through some pitiful tackling to score an easy try.
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg secured the bonus point with a try just before halftime, but the Hurricanes had the final say of the half as Andre Taylor cut through the Crusaders defense to narrow the deficit to 32-7 at halftime.
The home side improved greatly in the second half, showing far more urgency, commitment at the breakdown and cutting out the poor kicks.
Their reward was a second try in the 46th minute when No. 8 Victor Vito caught the Crusaders off guard with a quick tap-and-go penalty from close range to bulldoze over.
However, Crusaders flyhalf Tom Taylor kicked another penalty shortly after, his 15th point with the boot, as the visitors kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Another strong scrum set up Dagg for his second try after a Carter pass in the 62-minute before the game petered out with the match long over.
“They are a quality side ... we battled hard and played with a lot of heart, but sometimes it isn’t enough against sides like this,” Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith said.