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MATCH REPORT: Crusaders make a statement with a bit of history

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James Mortimer     03 May 2014     Getty Images

With six wins from their last seven games, the Crusaders continued their incredible home record against Australian and South African conference teams, unbeaten in Christchurch against such opposition since February 2004.

The Brumbies usual composure appeared to desert them as Slade kicked five first half penalties, before wing Johnny McNicholl scored in the 39th minute, which was converted to give the hosts a 22-6 halftime lead.

With the tourists arriving to the ground late which forced a shortened warm up, the Brumbies were unable to break the Crusaders defence which missed just one tackle in the first half.

With All Blacks captain Richie McCaw making a welcome return, playing with his typical everywhere style, the hosts were struck with injuries in the opening stanza.

Matt Todd left the field after a couple of minutes with a calf injury, while Kieron Fonotia and Tom Taylor also left the field with concerns.

The second half sharply reminded the red and blacks that they had plenty to do when Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore crossed in the 42nd minute.

The lead was maintained when Slade kicked his sixth penalty, while minutes later Sam Whitelock charged down a kick, and the loose ball was gladly picked up by Nemani Nadolo who went onto score.

A yellow card to Luke Romano in the 67th minute didn’t stop the tries, with Luke Whitelock scoring a few minutes later to confirm the result.

The Crusaders efficient defence slid to counter most of the threats, but was caught napping late in the match when Pat McCabe went over.

The red and blacks sixth win of the season ensures they remain within touching distance of the top six, although other results this weekend could alter the overall standings.

The Brumbies third loss of the season will not change their position as Australian Conference leader.

Slade’s 23 points saw him equal Andrew Mehrtens record set in 1999 with the biggest haul in 21 matches between the two teams.

Crusaders 40

Tries: McNicholl (39), Nadolo Nasiganiyavi (51), LC Whitelock (74)
Cons: Slade (40), Heinz (75)
Pens: Slade (6, 12, 19, 27, 38, 48, 58)

Brumbies 20

Tries: Moore (42), McCabe (78)
Cons: Leali'ifano (43), Toomua (77)
Pens: White (14, 33)