Updated: 03/16/2013 20:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Crusaders click to demolish Bulls

The Canterbury Crusaders emerged from their early season lethargy with a vengeance Saturday, hammering the previously unbeaten Northern Bulls 41-19 at AMI Stadium.


Crusaders click to demolish Bulls

Crusaders click to demolish Bulls

The seven-times Super champions, in their first home match of the season, scored six tries to one as they notched up their first win in 2013 by running the South Africa's Bulls to a standstill.

It was not a perfect performance from the Crusaders, with multiple errors, but it contained enough pace and venom to show their early losses to the Auckland Blues and Wellington Hurricanes were an aberration.

The Bulls went into the match brimming with confidence after their impressive win last week over the Blues but had no answer to the power and speed of the Crusaders' high-octane game.

"They kept us out of our game," said Bulls captain Pierre Spies, whose side have won the Super crown three times since 2007.

"In the lineouts they were very good. The scrums they also put us under pressure. Also, we couldn't get out of our half. We kept playing in our own half and you can't build any proper momentum so credit to them for that."

Crusaders captain Kieran Read said while his side were guilty of not looking after the ball in the first half, their effort could not be faulted.

"Certainly the intent was great and showed when we get it right we can be really dangerous."

After Dan Carter and Morne Steyn exchanged early penalties, the tries began to flow once the Crusaders made their passes stick.

Robbie Fruean touched down first after a sustained forward build-up. It was a confidence-boosting try for the centre, whose four previous touches of the ball had either gone to ground or been followed by misdirected passes.

With the Crusaders forwards dominating the Bulls pack, Read was driven over for their second try and Johnny McNicholl touched down on the stroke of halftime for their third to lead 22-9 at the break.

The Bulls had kept their side of the scoreboard moving with Steyn penalties and he added a fourth immediately after the resumption of play to briefly narrow the gap before the Crusaders scored their bonus-point fourth try.

Wing Tom Marshall cut through the Bulls midfield and outpaced the cover defence in a 40-metre dash to the line.

Marshall was also instrumental in the next try, with a 50-metre break from turnover ball which resulted in prop Wyatt Crockett crashing over the line.

Deon Stegmann drove over from a lineout for the Bulls' sole try of the match before replacement scrum-half Willi Heinz crossed for the Crusaders' sixth try.

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