If that's the damage the Crusaders can inflict upon one of their big rivals for the Super Rugby title, then lord have mercy on the rest of the competition.

A 38-22 thumping of the Hurricanes marks the 17th win in a row for the two-time defending champions, breaking their own record for the longest winning streak in Super Rugby history.

While they've been unbeatable worldwide for the past 11 months, Christchurch Stadium - as the pre-game sword-wielding horsemen indicate - is an impenetrable fortress for the Crusaders. 21 consecutive times a team have attempted a late night raid, and 21 times they have been repelled by the dominant hosts – only three of them even managing to get within seven points.

The last team to beat them in Christchurch was indeed the Hurricanes, and in fact, the Canes have managed to claim victory over the Crusaders in every season since 2011. Yet, the only streak extended tonight was always set to be the Crusaders' winning run, considering the visitors were missing Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea and Vaea Fifita, and only had access to TJ Perenara and Ngani Laumape via the bench.


It's hard enough to win Kiwi derbies away from home anyway – the Hurricanes have now lost five in a row – but not for one second did the visitors have the upper hand. The return of their stars – Barrett is sorely needed to provide some direction - will make things easier, as will a return home for their next two games.

But, even taking into account legitimate excuses, the Hurricanes' early returns have not been great, on both ends. After mustering their fewest metres since 2016 in their scratchy victory over the Waratahs, they could only produce 52 metres of attack in the first half, and missed a staggering 24 tackles.

The sloppiest defence also led to the game's most absurd try. After Manasa Mataele broke a tackle down the right wing, it looked like he had been bundled into touch. However, somehow contorting his body to keep his legs airborne as he faceplanted to the turf, the winger flicked a stunning no-look pass to Richie Mo'unga, who raced away for one of his two tries.

Scott Barrett also bagged a brace as the Crusaders' young All Black cavalry all made their mark, with Jack Goodhue showing his class on his season debut with an assertively hostile performance in midfield.

The Hurricanes showed more promise in the second half, denying the Crusaders a bonus point with three tries in the last 15 minutes, and they can also take solace in the realisation that they were playing a Crusaders side operating at their peak, with all of their All Blacks stars available.

Oh, hang on - Codie Taylor, Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock are still yet to make their season debuts.

Good luck to the rest of the competition.

Crusaders 38 (S. Barrett 2, R. Mo'unga 2, J. Taufua, G. Bridge tries; Mo'unga 3 cons, M. Hunt con)
Hurricanes 22 (B. Lam 2, W. Goosen, T. Perenara tries, J. Barrett con)
HT: 24-0