Dan Carter kicked 14 points as the Crusaders powered to a comfortable 34-6 win over the Lions in Christchurch on Saturday, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
The Lions were unable to repeat the heroics of last weekend, as tries from Andy Ellis, Kieron Fonotia and Kieran Read, along with a penalty try, helped the Crusaders to a bonus-point win in perfect conditions.
Elton Jantjies kicked two penalties for a spirited but over-run Lions side, who fell to their fourth defeat of the season.
The visitors came into the match buoyed by their hard-fought victory over the Blues, but two mistakes from Jantjies put them under early pressure. After kicking the ball straight into touch from the kick-off, Jantjies passed the ball into his own post when given the chance to clear, and from the resultant scrum, Ellis glided over courtesy of a customary offload from Read.
Despite enjoying complete dominance, both in possession and territory during the first half, a number of handling errors coupled with some solid defence from the Lions meant the hosts led just 13-3 at the break.
The Lions, for all their effort, failed to show any sort of attack despite having the wind at their backs, while their scrum came under immense pressure, with Julian Redelinghuys having a particularly tough time against All Black Wyatt Crockett.
The pressure eventually told in the second half, with Redelinghuys seeing yellow for repeated infringements, and the Crusaders capitalised to the tune of 14 points in his absence.
Scrumming against a depleted Lions pack, they were awarded a penalty try, before Fonotia cantered over in the corner as the floodgates threatened to open.
To their credit, the Lions regained their composure after returning to a full contingent, and kept the Crusaders relatively quiet for the remainder of the match, before Read's late interception try sealed the bonus point.
Despite the defeat, the Lions will head to Australia content with their showing in their first two tour matches, and quietly confident of picking up at least one more victory against the Rebels or the Reds.
Crusaders – Tries: Andy Ellis, penalty try, Kieron Fonotia, Kieran Read. Conversions: Dan Carter (4). Penalties: Carter (2).
Lions – Penalties: Elton Jantjies (2).
Crusaders – 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 David Havili.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Corné Fourie.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images