Rugby-Crusaders thrash Reds to underline New Zealand dominance

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(Reuters) - Richie Mo'unga put on a masterclass as the Canterbury Crusaders made it 10 wins out of 10 for New Zealand teams in the first two rounds of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman with an emphatic 63-28 victory over Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

The All Blacks flyhalf scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked eight conversions as the champions of Super Rugby Aotearoa made light work of the Super Rugby AU champions in front of a crowd of 20,000 at Lang Park.

The Crusaders scored nine tries with Sevu Reece grabbing a brace and Cullen Grace, Codie Taylor, Tamaiti Williams and a penalty try further inflating the scoreline and earning them a record win over the Reds.

The Reds scored tries through Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Suliasi Vunivalu and Brandon Paenga-Amosa but their hopes of reproducing their victory over the Crusaders in the 2011 Super Rugby final were extinguished in the first half an hour.

Four unanswered tries gave the visitors an imposing 26-0 lead after 29 minutes and Mo'unga had a hand in three of them, scoring two and making another for Reece with a brilliant line-break.

Scrumhalf McDermott finally got the Reds on the board from a quickly-taken penalty just before halftime but Reece got his second off a David Havili crosskick and Mo'unga danced through the Reds defence again before the hour mark.

"He just knows how to control the game and when there's nothing on, he just makes something happen," Crusaders captain Taylor said of Mo'unga.

"He's a pretty special guy on and off the field and I'm just glad that he's on my team and I don't have to defend against him."

In Saturday's other matches, Bryce Heem scored a hat-trick of tries as the Auckland Blues beat the New South Wales Waratahs 48-21 at Eden Park to condemn the visitors to their worst ever losing streak with a 10th successive loss.

The ACT Brumbies fared little better in a battle of the losing finalists from the domestic competitions in Hamilton, where Waikato Chiefs number eight Luke Jacobson grabbed two tries in a 40-19 victory.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney and Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Stephen Coates and Ed Osmond)

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