The Crusaders recovered from a slow start to beat the Hurricanes 40-19 in their first Vodacom Super Rugby warm-up in Ashburton on Saturday.
In a game played in sunny and warm conditions, the defending champions ground down their opponents after falling 12-0 behind in the friendly.
Both teams were without their All Blacks and used over 30 players throughout the match, swapping their lineups entirely in the second half.
The Hurricanes took an early lead through a try each from flank Du’Plessis Kirifi and centre Vince Aso, but the Crusaders then scored four unanswered tries to go ahead at half time.
Scott Robertson decided to change his entire starting lineup in the second half, but his team suffered a blow when experienced scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond took a heavy knock to the head and was forced off. The Hurricanes also suffered an injury when promising wing Jonah Lowe had to be replaced in the first half after taking a blow to his shoulder.
The Crusaders continued their momentum in the second half with further tries from Fasi Fuatai and Michael Alaalatoa sealing the result.
Both teams have one more friendly before they begin their Super Rugby campaigns. The Crusaders travel to Wanaka to face the Highlanders in their annual Farmlands Cup pre-season clash, while the Hurricanes meet the Blues in Takapuna.
Photo: KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES