Crusaders bag two hat-tricks in crushing win over Force

David Havili of Crusaders runs the ball during the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images
David Havili of Crusaders runs the ball during the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and Crusaders. Photo: Getty Images
If you open the door for the Crusaders, you can guarantee they won't need a second invitation.

It was the theme of the night when the Crusaders met the Western Force in Perth on Saturday, with the visitors running in eight tries – including hat-tricks to Leicester Fainga'anuku and Will Jordan - to claim a 53-15 win.

It was an impressive showing when the side found themselves in attacking positions as they flashed the well-documented threats they have across the park. From Richie Mo'unga's game management, the work of the pack at the breakdown, and the individual talent in their backline, the Crusaders didn't let many opportunities slip through their grasp.

It wasn't a complete performance, with discipline issues allowing the Force to relieve the pressure at times or apply their own. However, it was a big step in the right direction after their setback against the Waratahs last time out.

There was plenty of intrigue around how the Crusaders would bounce back from that loss, and in the early going the intent was there but the execution was lacking.

The Force opened the scoring through an early penalty, but as the Crusaders started to win the battle at the breakdown they soon reaped the benefits and began to play on the front foot.

Working deep inside Force territory, Fainga'anuku scored the game's first try with a strong carry at pace from five metres out, carrying two defenders on his back and slamming the ball down.

The Force didn't take a step back though, and hit back soon after when Jake Strachan sped onto a deft grubber behind the line from centre Kyle Godwin. Fainga'anuku was slow to turn and react, and Strachan won the race.

The tone of the game seemed to change after the opening 20 minutes when a great kick in behind the Force line gave them no choice but to take it back over their goal line under a great chase from the Crusaders.

From the ensuing scrum, the Crusaders spread it wide immediately, with Mo'unga showing some footwork to get into space before sending Fainga'anuku over for a spectacular finish.

Fainga'anuku wasn't done there. In great position to attack late in the half, the Crusaders looked like they were trying to set up the powerful winger for a first-half hat-trick. First, a move through the hands found him little space and he was driven out. The Force knocked on immediately afterwards, and the Crusaders tried to launch Fainga'anuku at pace onto a ball from Bryn Hall. He was stopped short.

Third time was the charm, as an offside penalty allowed them to pack a scrum five metres out, and Jordan was able to sling a great long ball to Fainga'anuku to score out wide to end the half.

The Force hit first in the second half through Fergus Lee-Warner with a pick-and-go, however, the Crusaders hit back immediately through Pablo Matera for his first Crusaders try and from there it was one-way traffic.

A superb hat-trick from Jordan, and a try on debut for George Bell saw the Crusaders run away with it, scoring 35 unanswered points in the final 35 minutes.

Crusaders 53 (Leicester Fainga'anuku 3, Will Jordan 3, Pablo Matera, George Bell tries; Richie Mo'unga 5 cons, pen)
Force 15 (Jake Strachan, Fergus Lee-Warner tries; Strachan con, pen)
HT: 18-8

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