Crusaders outclass Jaguares

The visitors scored six tries to two, including doubles to wingers George Bridge and Manasa Mataele, while five-eighth Mitch Hunt scored 13 points.

The bonus-point win lifts the Crusaders to one point behind the Lions at the top of the overall standings through eight rounds.

They narrowly lead the New Zealand conference from the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

A third-straight win was the Crusaders' eighth in a row at an offshore venue.

The only team to have won a final overseas, the Crusaders have built their eight titles on an ability to travel.

Crusaders beat Bulls in rugby arm wrestle

Cold, wet conditions stripped Friday's game of any colour with six of the seven tries scored from close range in a match dominated by the packs.

It was good enough for the Crusaders to put losses to the Highlanders and Hurricanes behind them, a rare double setback after marching through 2017 with only one loss.

The Bulls slumped to a fourth-straight defeat, paying the price for their lack of clinical finishing, having edged the hosts in territory and possession.

The Crusaders led by a flattering 21-7 scoreline at halftime.

Whitelock and Crotty back for Crusaders

Coach Scott Robertson has made five changes to the starting line-up from the side that lost to the Highlanders in Dunedin last Saturday night.

Both Whitelock and Crotty suffered head knocks in the Crusaders loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington two weeks ago and missed the Highlanders match.

Prop Tim Perry returns to start pushing Wyatt Crockett to the bench.

Flanker Billy Harmon will earn his second start replacing All Black Matt Todd, who took a knock to the ribs and will be rested.

Crusaders suffer double injury blow ahead of Highlanders clash

This has meant he couldn't complete the post-concussion return to play process this week, the Crusaders said in a statement.

Luke Romano will start alongside Scott Barrett, with Quinten Strange brought on to the bench. Matt Todd will now captain the side and Tim Bateman will be vice- captain.

Utility Mike Delany has jarred his knee at training on Thursday and will also miss this weekend's game, with Brett Cameron brought into the match-day 23 as first five-eighth cover.


Mo'unga steers Crusaders past the Stormers

Mo'unga was in the thick of everything the defending champions did well as they ran in seven tries to four against the belligerent South Africans.

The man who made his All Blacks debut in November after some sublime domestic form in 2017 was the game's influential figure.

He had a key hand in five tries, including scoring their last in a 15-point haul.

There will be some concern in the Crusaders' camp after Mo'unga's exit in the dying minutes after an apparent blow to the head.

Penalty try sinks Chiefs in Christchurch

It was a game that once again showcased the incredible array of talent in the New Zealand Super Rugby conference. However, while both sides produced glimpses of unbelievable skill, there was also enough ill-discipline from both sides to cause some concern for coaches Scott Robertson and Colin Cooper.

The first half started brightly for the Chiefs, who almost scored off the opening passage through a McKenzie break. However, that was basically the last they saw of the ball for the next 12 minutes.

Canes thrash Crusaders in pre-season hit out

Jonah Lowe bagged a hat-trick as the visitors ran in seven tries to four in ideal conditions, with both teams using a host of different players.

None of the All Blacks in both squads were available for the contest.

It left Crusaders coach Scott Robertson to blood 18 players who are yet to experience Super Rugby, while Northampton-bound Hurricanes mentor Chris Boyd also surveyed his depth.

There were no apparent serious injuries suffered.

The next assignment for both teams is next week's Brisbane 10s tournament.

Crusaders call on experience

Both players began their Super Rugby careers 10 years ago, Bateman with the Crusaders and Delany with the Highlanders, and both have returned to New Zealand rugby after playing a number of seasons overseas.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said the pair's experience will be invaluable to the team as they attempt to go back-to-back.

"Tim and Mike are both playing outstanding rugby for their respective provincial teams, Canterbury and Bay of Plenty, and proving that they still have a heck of a lot to offer New Zealand rugby."

Digby Ioane quits Crusaders

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said Ioane and the Crusaders had reached a mutual decision that staying in Japan was best for the 32-year-old.

Ioane, who earned 35 caps for Australia from 2007 to 2013, played just three Super Rugby games for the Crusaders in 2017, scoring one try against the Western Force.

His season was hampered by hand and hamstring injuries and he was unable to win back his place with Seta Tamanivalu and George Bridge in good form on the wings. 

Crusaders not hot on Fiji

Exactly where the Super Rugby champions will play their matches in 2018 has yet to be made public, although chief executive Hamish Riach has already declared the competition schedule, released by Sanzaar last week, isn't conducive to his club transferring a fixture to the Fijian capital of Suva.

When the Chiefs transferred their "home" games against the Crusaders to Suva for the last two years, they did so in the knowledge that the Fijian government would invest around $1.6 million.