10 Apr 2011

Bumper crowd sees Crusaders romp to win in Timaru

4:29 am on 10 April 2011

A near sell-out crowd at Timaru watched the Crusaders beat the Bulls by a surprisingly comfortable score of 27-0 on Saturday night.

It was the city's first Super Rugby match in five years.

The game was transferred from the Crusaders' home ground in Christchurch, AMI Stadium, which was badly damaged in the February earthquake.

Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall and Sonny Bill Williams all scored tries while Matthew Berquist hit four succesful penalties.

Numbers at the 11,000-seater Alpine Energy Stadium were boosted by Christchurch fans heading south on a special charter train and on 20 buses.

The match had an added edge, as there was a controversial end to the last time they met, in last season's Super Rugby match when the Bulls beat the Cantabrians, 40-35.

A contentious late try Francois Hougaard sealed a victory for the Bulls, but there were some who felt the pass to Hougaard was forward.

The Crusaders are currently the top New Zealand side on the Super Rugby points table, with the Bulls in second place in the South Africa conference.