Like a shark that senses blood in the water, if the Crusaders get a sniff of the tryline, they're going to strike.

It took just three set pieces from close range to shake the life out of the travel-weary Bulls in Christchurch on Friday night, with the hosts marching to a 33-14 win.

Much like they did in their loss to the Chiefs a week prior, the Bulls opened the clash with the majority of possession and the better of the territorial battle.

The visitors' decision to turn down shots at goal from early penalties in favour of lineouts, while admirable, did them no good as they lost the opportunity to take the early lead twice. The hosts' lack of discipline helped the Bulls get a number of opportunities in the attacking half, but the visitors could not capitalise.


The Crusaders, on the other hand, needed just one look within striking distance of the tryline to open the scoring through lock Scott Barrett, who slammed the ball over from close range following a lineout in the 15th minute.

Snatching the lead despite being under pressure for the early exchanges, the Crusaders found themselves a man down when Tim Perry was shown a yellow card in the 25th minute due to the hosts committing too many penalties.

The Bulls looked to attack from the ensuing penalty, but a backline move quickly fizzled out and Crusaders halfback Mitch Drummond put his side on the front foot with a lovely boxkick which raced deep into the Bulls' territory.

Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant was forced to take the ball out of play inside his own 10m line as a result, and Codie Taylor crashed over after the ensuing lineout.

At 14-0 things looked ominous for the Bulls. They finally made the most of their pressure when winger Travis Ismaiel beat five Crusaders to get the visitors on the board.

However, another Crusaders set-piece late in the first half saw the lead extended to 14 again, with centre Jack Goodhue carrying two Bulls forwards over the line following a scrum.

With a 21-7 lead at halftime, it looked like the Crusaders were at short odds to end their two-game losing streak.

Those odds shortened further when Goodhue bagged his second of the night early in the second half.

The Bulls hit back late in the second half through reserve forward Marco van Staden to take away a bonus point from their hosts, but only momentarily. The Crusaders had the final say, with George Bridge scoring a late try with a determined run on the right wing to secure the bonus point win.

Crusaders 33 (Jack Goodhue 2, Scott Barrett, Codie Taylor, George Bridge tries; Mitch Hunt 4 cons)
Bulls 14 (Travis Ismaiel, Marco van Staden tries; Handre Pollard 2 cons)
HT: 21-7