Back to business for the Crusaders.

Last week's blip in Sydney, where their 19 match winning run ended with the worst performance of the Scott Robertson era, in their first game since the Christchurch terrorist attack, will be quickly forgotten.

The sign of any classy side is their ability to put poor performances behind them and respond with intent.

The All Blacks rarely, if ever, produce two off weeks on the trot. The Crusaders, chasing three successive titles, are a similar beast.


In Wellington tonight they ended the Hurricanes' 13 game unbeaten home run with ease.

The clinical, ruthless manner of this performance once again shone a light on the gulf between these teams who, prior to this match, were locked at the top of the Kiwi conference.

For all the talk of the rivalry, this was a fizzer.

The Crusaders have now beaten the Hurricanes twice already this season after their 38-22 win in Christchurch five weeks ago.

If there were any emerging doubts about the red and black dominance, Robertson's men have also won their last 11 New Zealand derbies.

Many expected the vaunted might of the Crusaders forwards to prove the difference. It was instead the Hurricanes backline and a string of consistent errors that let them down.

For the most part the Hurricanes pack stood up to the visitors. Their scrum more than held its own, and while they made far too many mistakes in the tight, they generally gave as good as they got in competing and challenging the breakdown.

While their big men stood up at the set piece, the Hurricanes back three were twice exposed early and they never really recovered.


First Bryn Hall and Will Jordan combined to catch Ben Lam and Chase Tiatia napping. David Havili then made the most of Tiatia dropping a high ball to make it two tries from kicks in behind.

The inaccuracies continued from the Hurricanes on attack, too, with frequent errors five metres out from the Crusaders line. They needed a yellow card to Matt Todd – deemed by referee Ben O'Keeffe to have run into the back of TJ Perenara while attempting a quick tap – to briefly keep themselves in the contest, striking immediately off the lineout through Ngani Laumape.

After halftime, though, the Hurricanes lost patience on attack in the face of staunch defence and, forced to chase the game, frequent, frustrating mistakes came all too regularly.

To be on mere equal terms with the Crusaders any side must be near exemplary. The Hurricanes were the length of the Cook Strait from that level – Beauden Barrett having an intercept picked off by Whetukamokamo Douglas another sign of their struggles for cohesion and confidence.

Late in the second half, with the game gone, the Hurricanes seemed clueless on attack such was the Crusaders' defensive prowess.

Crusaders captain Kieran Read took a knock to the thigh in an innocuous Ben May tackle after 21 minutes and did not return after the break. In his first match back for four months, Read's early exit was probably more of a precaution than anything to cause major concern.

Vaea Fifita, in his 50th game, was a standout for the Hurricanes with his hunger in the carry and solid lineout work but in the end his efforts were futile.

As they match wore on it became easier for the Crusaders to capitalise. They scored two second half tries and had Havili's hat-trick scrubbed out for a forward pass.

Even then, the one-sided nature of the match could not be masked.

One team looks destined to contest another title. The other remains well out of sorts.

Crusaders 32 (David Havili 2, Will Jordan, Braydon Ennor tries; Richie Mo'unga 3 cons, 2 pens)
Hurricanes 8 (Ngani Laumape try; Jordie Barrett pen)
HT: 17-8