Western Force feel the sting in the Crusaders’ tail

Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished a minute after halftime when hooker Brodie McAlister completed a try-scoring hat-trick with his third driving maul five-pointer.

Stung by last week’s loss to the table-topping Chiefs, the Crusaders continued piling on the tries with Fainga’anuku and Springer both collecting doubles and hooker Codie Taylor also crossing.

Cullen Grace of the Crusaders is tackled by Chase Tiatia of the Force.

Cullen Grace of the Crusaders is tackled by Chase Tiatia of the Force.Credit: Getty

The Crusaders would have won even more handsomely had Mo’unga not missed five conversion attempts, mostly from out wide.

“We were outclassed in every aspect of the game and the scoreline shows that so well done to the Crusaders,” said dejected Force captain Michael Wells.

With the Hurricanes suffering a surprise 27-24 loss to the Fiji Drua earlier on Saturday, the Crusaders surged into second spot with the bonus-point victory.

“We put in a lot of work during the week after last week’s performance, especially the scrum and happy to see that,” McAlister said.

The injury-hit Force are at the other end of the table, languishing in second-last position above only the winless Moana Pasifika and probably needing to win three of their last four games to scrape into the finals for a first time after missing out last year by one competition point.

They host the Drua next week before having further home games against heavyweights the Chiefs and Brumbies plus a trip to Melbourne to face the Rebels.

Wells said the Force couldn’t rely on their three-from-three record in 2023 at nib Stadium against the dangerous Drua.

“Obviously the Drua are a fast-flying team on attack,” Wells said.

“If our defence doesn’t turn up, doesn’t force turnovers and lets them dictate territory and the speed of the game, that’s going to be an issue for us.”


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