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Match Highlights: Crusaders beat Hurricanes

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Match Highlights: Crusaders beat Hurricanes, but Read's return doesn't last long

David Havili capitalised on Hurricanes’ errors to score two tries as the Crusaders recorded a comfortable 32-8 victory in a stop-start Super Rugby match on Friday.

Will Jordan and Braydon Ennor also crossed for the visitors who moved to 24 points on the table, giving themselves some breathing room ahead of the Hurricanes (19) at the top of the New Zealand conference.

Ngani Laumape scored the Hurricanes’ only try in the match in which both sides committed numerous errors while the Crusaders defence forced several turnovers when the hosts were on attack.

There could be some concerns for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as captain Kieran Read was replaced at half-time with a knee injury which he picked up after about 20 minutes.

It was Read’s first match for the Crusaders this season.

The match at Wellington Regional Stadium was the Crusaders’ first in New Zealand since the March 15 mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people, with the country holding a series of national remembrance ceremonies for the victims on Friday.

Their match with the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin, scheduled for the day following the shooting, was cancelled.

They then lost 20-12 to the NSW Waratahs in Sydney last week, ending a year-long, 20-match winning streak.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said the shooting was not an excuse for their uncharacteristically sloppy performance in the wet in Sydney and many fans in New Zealand expected a backlash against the Hurricanes on Friday.

Much of the first half, however, was characterised by poor handling from both sides with numerous turnovers and it was played between the 22m areas with neither team really threatening.

The Crusaders, who spent much of the first spell on defence, managed to take a 17-8 lead into the break with tries to Jordan and Havili.

Havili’s second try came early in the second half and Ennor effectively ended the contest with about 30 minutes remaining as he finished off a simple move.

AAP

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Match Highlights: Crusaders beat Hurricanes, but Read's return doesn't last long