Super Rugby Pacific heavyweights Crusaders show their class in 53-15 thumping of Western Force

Headshot of Nick Taylor
Nick TaylorThe West Australian
Western Force’s Kyle Godwin runs the ball during their loss to the Crusaders.
Camera IconWestern Force’s Kyle Godwin runs the ball during their loss to the Crusaders. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Western Force were handed a harsh lesson in their 53-15 thumping by Super Rugby Pacific powerhouse Crusaders at HBF Park on Saturday.

The 12-time champions, smarting from their shock 24-21 loss to the Waratahs, were just too good for the Force, running in eight tries to two.

The Force have slipped out of the top eight finals spot and the biggest loss of the season took their home game losing streak to eight games.

They were still in the game early in the second period, behind by just three, but the scoreline was blown out by a ruthless Crusaders who ran in 30 unanswered points.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Tim Anstee of the Force runs the ball during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between the Western Force and the Crusaders at HBF Park on May 07, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconTim Anstee of the Force heads for home during their loss to the Crusaders. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

A first-half hat-trick from winger Leicester Fainga’anuku set the foundations for the win while full-back Will Jordan added three of his own after the break.

Argentinian No.8 Pablo Matera and debutant prop George Bell grabbed one each.

Force full-back Jake Strachan slotted an early penalty and scored the Force first try, racing onto a Kyle Godwin kick, but the Crusaders hit back with Fainga’anuku’s trio.

The Force were on the board again early after the restart when flanker Fergus Lee-Warner barreled through from a ruck.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Will Jordan of the Crusaders crosses for a try during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between the Western Force and the Crusaders at HBF Park on May 07, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconWill Jordan of the Crusaders crosses for a try as they thumped the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

But the Force problem of losing concentration at the restart raised its head again with Matera and Jordan going over in quick succession.

Jordan then raced onto a chip and used good footwork and speed for two more with Bell icing the win.

Force coach Tim Sampson said: ”They were just too good for us.

“We got blown off the park, that first 20 minutes after half-time.

“They lifted their intensity, really got us around the breakdown.

“Defensively they aimed up in that second half.

“There was a big shift and we didn’t react quick enough.

“They took full control of the game..”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Will Jordan of the Crusaders runs in for a try during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between the Western Force and the Crusaders at HBF Park on May 07, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconWill Jordan reels in a pass as his Crusaders side mustered up a massive second half to over-run the Western Force. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

The Force defended well in the early stages, getting bodies into the Crusaders line, but they gradually imposed themselves on the game.

The Force gave away too many penalties when they were in good position and their handing let them down at crucial moments.

They needed to be quicker to the breakdown with the Crusaders using their kicking game well to keep them pinned in their half to build pressure.

As the Crusaders stepped up their line speed and defensive maul work they set the Force back on their heels and found plenty of space.

The Crusaders were forced to shuffle their side after four player went down with COVID but they still had an embarrassment of All Black riches.

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