Highlanders thrashed by Crusaders

Richie Mo'unga is tackled while running the ball for the Crusaders against the Highlanders...
Richie Mo'unga is tackled while running the ball for the Crusaders against the Highlanders tonight. Photo: Getty Images
A terrible second half has condemned the Highlanders to another loss.

After leading at halftime, the side was beaten 43-17 by the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight.

The Highlanders started well and led 10-7 at halftime.

But an awful second half and a clinical Crusaders performance allowed the hosts to score 29 consecutive points.

It was a performance littered with mistakes.

The Highlanders had their chances, but they were unable to finish them off, handling errors and decision making letting them down.

At the other end the Crusaders made light work of the Highlanders' defence, running in six tries.

It was not how Ben Smith would have hoped to celebrate his 150th game for the team, but he did show his brilliance early on.

He ghosted through a gap 30m out and cruised to the line to score.

Josh Ioane converted to put the Highlanders 7-0 up and a penalty shortly afterwards made it 10-0.

Braydon Ennor pulled one back midway through the half for the Crusaders.

Richie Mo'unga made a break and after appearing to be held on the ground, was able to get back up and keep going.

They spun it wide to Ennor, who went over in the left corner.

The Highlanders held them out until halftime, but that was as good as it got.

A break from Jack Goodhue put the hosts on the front foot, before a Whetu Douglas offload put David Havili in.

Richie Mo'unga added a penalty minutes later to make it 17-10, before a penalty try from a scrum added another seven.

Sevu Reece added another soon after and while the Highlanders had their chances through the middle of the half, they could not score.

The Crusaders took their chance though, Reece capitalising as a ball popped out of a ruck.

He broke up the left and Smith covered, but Mitchell Drummond was there in support and crossed for another.

Folau Fakatava put a grubber through for Josh Ioane to finally score for the Highlanders, but it was far too late.

Will Jordan answered for the Crusaders, completing a night to forget for the Highlanders.

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