It was a sweltering 30-degree day last Friday, with a full house of about 7000 fans at the Wānaka showgrounds. Loyal locals came to support the Highlanders to victory, only to be stung with a thrashing defeat by the Crusaders. The Super Rugby champions led by just 12-7 at the break but took off like a Thrust SSC in the second half thanks to some smooth tries by Fetuli Paea, Braydon Ennor and Leicester Fainga'nuku.
Whilst there was a possibility of a comeback at half time when the score was 12-7, all hopes were vanquished with a crushing 41-7 defeat at the final whistle.
The scores Crusaders: Leicester Fainga’anuku 2, Will Jordan, Michael Alaalatoa, Tom Sanders, Brayden Ensor, Fainai Paea tries; Bryn Hall 2 con, Brett Cameron con
Highlanders: Rob Thompson try, Mitch Hunt con.