The defending champions also posted their 25th consecutive home victory and they are now just one win away from equalling their longest home winning streak, set between 2004 and 2007. The match was a repeat of last year’s final, which produced the same winning outcome for the Kiwi side.
The Crusaders led by 17-3 at halftime, courtesy of two converted tries and a penalty goal, and they added three more tries in the second stanza to register a comfortable and deserving win.
It was a gallant effort by the embattled Emirates Lions, whose inspirational captain Warren Whiteley has to withdraw from the team after he failed a late fitness test on the eve of the match. Furthermore, Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx was also rested for this encounter.
The Crusaders were rewarded with tries through by Braydon Ennor, and two each by wingers Sevu Reece and George Bridge, while pivot Richie Mo’unga slotted four conversions and a penalty goal. The Jozi side scored a try through fullback Ruan Combrinck and a conversion and penalty goal by midfielder Elton Jantjies.
After three weeks on the road, the Emirates Lions will return to South Africa. They have a bye next weekend, while the Crusaders host another South African side, the Cell C Sharks, next Friday.
Crusaders 36 (17) – Tries: Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece (2), George Bridge (2). Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (4). Penalty goal: Mo’unga.
Emirates Lions 10 (3) – Try: Ruan Combrinck. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalty goal: Jantjies.