Crusaders 59 Blues 12
Catch me if you can ... Robbie Fruean evades Benson Stanley of the Blues. Photo: Getty Images
Hooker Corey Flynn scored two of nine tries as the Crusaders crushed the Blues 59-12 in their biggest Super Rugby win over their New Zealand rivals on Saturday.
The Crusaders atoned for last week's shock loss to the Melbourne Rebels, which jolted their playoffs hopes, taking only 36 minutes to claim a four-try bonus point that kept them in fifth place after round 13.
Forlorn ... Tony Woodcock. Photo: Getty Images
Matt Todd, Adam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Andy Ellis, Zac Guildford, Tom Marshall and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw also scored tries while star flyhalf Dan Carter took on the goalkicking duties for the first time in six weeks and landed six conversions.
"We didn't do anything really different (to the Rebels match). It was just that we were clinical when we had the ball," McCaw said.
"We played at the right end of the field and the opportunities we got we made count.
A cut above ... Zac Guildford runs in to heap more misery on the Blues. Photo: Getty Images
"There's not a lot between having a good day and a bad day but when it comes together like tonight it's pretty pleasing."
The Crusaders had almost 80 per cent of possession through the first 50 minutes of the match and used it to effect, mounting attack after attack and scoring tries at almost consistent intervals.
The sequence was interrupted by replacement centre Lachie Munro, who scored the Blues' two tries in the 61st and 81st minutes, helping them to avoid their largest-ever loss in Super Rugby.
The Blues are in the midst of their worst season and Saturday's defeat - their 10th in 12 games and their heaviest of the campaign - only deepens the crisis around New Zealand's largest and richest franchise.
The Blues were inept in almost every aspect of play, failing to compete on any level with a Crusaders team that finally recovered their try-scoring touch.
The Crusaders easily won the set-piece contest, but that was an almost incidental facet of a match played at pace and almost entirely in the open field.
The back row of McCaw, Todd and George Whitelock hoovered up every scrap of loose possession - much of it discharged by the Blues' handling errors - and turned it to a backline that was ruthlessly efficient.
Guildford and All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg were outstanding members of that backline, providing invaluable support play and constantly giving sharpness and focus to the attack.
CRUSADERS 59 (Corey Flynn 2, Andrew Ellis, Zac Guildford, Tom Marshall, Richard McCaw, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, Adam Whitelock tries Daniel Carter 6, Tyler Bleyendaal cons) bt BLUES 12 (Lachie Munro 2 tries Gareth Anscombe con) at Christchurch Stadium. Referee: Bryce Lawrence.