CAPE TOWN- The Stormers tour of New Zealand got off to the worst possible start when they were thumped 57-24 by the Crusaders in Christchurch.
With games against the Highlanders and Hurricanes to come over the next two weeks, getting their tour off on a positive footing was imperative.
And the first 10 minutes could not have gone better with the Stormers keeping the home side under immense pressure.
Unfortunately, all they had to show for their dominance was a Robert du Preez penalty.
Then the Crusaders blitzkrieg started.
In the space of just 20 minutes, winger George Bridge had a hat-trick.
Two further tries then followed thanks to skipper Kieran Read.
Richie Mo”unga added four conversions and a penalty for the home side to lead 36-3 at half-time.
It was the Stormers who needed to score first in the second half if they were to have any hope of getting back into the match and they did with Cheslin Kolbe sprinting 70 metres after snaffling an intercept.
Robert du Preez converted to make the score 36-10 after 42 minutes.
Bjorn Basson added another converted try on 52 minutes to narrow the gap and give the Stormers a hint of belief.
Any hopes of a miracle comeback, however, were quickly snuffed out when Michael Alaalatoa forced his way over from a lineout for a converted try.
Peter Samu then ran the length of the field to added another converted score and push the score out to 50-17.
Frans Malherbe scored a third try for the Stormers, again converted by Robert du Preez while the Crusaders rubbed salt into the wounds with another intercept try, this time through Manasa Mataele.
Mo”unga added the conversion before the final whistle put the Stormers out of their misery.
The Stormers tour doesn’t get any easier as next week they play the Highlanders while the Crusaders face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Tries: George Bridge (3), Kieran Read (2), Michael Alaalatoa, Peter Samu
Conversions: Richie Mo”unga (7)
Penalty: Richie Mo”unga
Tries: Cheslin Kolbe, Bjorn Basson, Frans Malherbe
Conversions: Robert du Preez (3)
Penalty: Robert du Preez
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel