The Crusaders have scored the first Power Try of World Series Rugby, achieving the feat in the fourth match since the format’s introduction.
Halfback Mitchell Drummond needed just six minutes to score the seven-pointer on Friday night after the Crusaders launched an attack from within their defensive 22m. The seven points contributed to a 44-8 dismantling of the Western Force in front of 14,259 fans at nib Stadium.
The home side held strong against the defending Super Rugby champions for the first 40 minutes and trailed by just eight points at halftime.
But it was the Crusaders who pulled away in the second spell despite missing their All Blacks stars.
The Force scored just one try in the match, while the Crusaders ran in six.
The Crusaders’ squad tallied more than 700 games of Super Rugby experience, thanks in large part to former All Blacks Israel Dagg and Wyatt Crockett.
“It was a great fight. It was hotly contested and it was physical,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said.
“We’ve played a lot of high-level rugby in the last six months, so we just thought maybe our fitness got us through.
“It was an awesome spectacle. The energy we got from the crowd [was big].”
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Drummond’s Power Try opened the scoring, but the Force hit back just minutes later through Ian Prior. The try was set up by a run from Fijian debutant Masivesi Dakuwaqa.
An Olympic gold medallist with Fiji, 24-year-old Dakuwaqa impressed for the Force but the home side spent the majority of the game on the defensive.
“There’s disappointment there,” Force coach Tim Sampson said.
“We were probably pressured there to playing out of our systems but the way the game finished we showed a lot of grit and that’s the character of this team.
“We never take a backwards step and that was evident in the last quarter of the game.”
The Force will next take on a Samoan side on 14 July, hoping to end a two-game losing streak.
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