It was virtually a non-contest and definitely not what the Bulls wanted, or their supporters expected, at Loftus on Friday night.
Seven tries to one in a winning score of 45-13 by the Crusaders followed on their vision and class as the came out tops against a side totally out-thought and disjointed in defence and on attack.
Richie Mo’unga, who was outstanding at flyhalf, scored two of those tries and Sevu Reece three.
It was marginally less embarrassing for the Bulls than their 10-62 loss (ten tries by Crusaders) in 2017 and yes, the Bulls tried; and yes, they did have their moments early on and in the third quarter, but Handré Pollards men were outplayed.
But their effort was mostly up front, and overall they were simply outplayed. Full stop.
Somehow the visitors always had a man out wide for the pass over the top, or when they simply ran the ball. Two consecutive kick-passes to the two opposite sidelines nearly brought a try and then 25 seconds later did, such was the accuracy of the visitors’ execution and sums up their class and superiority.
Mo’unga, regarded by many pundits in New Zealand as better than the All Blacks No 1 Beauden Barrett, showed why he is held in such great regard. Pollard wasn’t at his best and the difference was on the night was obvious.
There were too many turnovers by the Bulls, too many handling errors when they needed to hang on, and in the end the Crusaders, not at their very best throughout, and still prone to too many penalty errors, were simply in a different class.
♦ Up front one must, however, commend the Bulls lock RG Snyman who worked for 80 minutes, made 12 tackles, was there to assist in his side’s few attacking efforts and was outstanding. Marco van Staden was good at the breakdowns and on defence, and Duane Vermeulen turned over possession on a few occasions.
For the rest, is was a disappointing Bulls effort. They will tackle their overseas tour of four matches before they end their Super Rugby campaign against the Lions at Loftus with a fair amount of uncertainty.
Bulls (6) 13: Try: Burger Odendaal. Conversion: Handré Pollard. Penalties: Pollard (2).
Crusaders (26) 45: Tries: Richie Mo’unga (2), Mitchell Dunshea, Sevu Reece (3), Scott Barrett. Conversion: Mo’unga (5).