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The Canterbury Crusaders juggernaut rolled over the Southern Kings 55-20 with a seven-try romp in their Super 15 clash on Saturday.
It was a harsh comedown for the tournament newcomers who had punched above their weight in their opening matches in South Africa.
Against the seven-time champion Crusaders, who have firmly buried the lethargy they showed at the start of the season, the Kings were soundly punished.
The Crusaders stole lineout balls, used their powerful pack to out-muscle the Kings in the tight and then proceeded to run the ball at a frantic pace before cashing in when gaps appeared, to post the first score in excess of 50 points this season.
Since losing their first two matches to the Auckland Blues and Wellington Hurricanes, the Crusaders have scored 13 tries and piled on 96 points in back-to-back home wins against the Northern Bulls and Kings.
Captain Kieran Read said they had planned to start hard and fast against the Kings, with their relentless brand of rugby producing the four-try bonus point inside 30 minutes.
"I think that's the challenge. You've got to come out and really hit it early on and accurately and tonight we were outstanding," said backrower Read who was a dominant figure around the field.
The Kings did manage two tries and were first to put points on the board from a penalty by fly-half Demetri Catrakilis in the opening minute, but they never posed a serious threat.
The Crusaders responded to Catrakalis' penalty with a sustained two-minute build up that ended with flanker George Whitelock crossing for the first of his three tries.
Prop Wyatt Crockett, Whitelock and livewire scrum-half Willi Heinz also scored in the first 30 minutes as the Crusaders raced to a 31-6 lead, before Willie van der Walt scored on the stroke of half-time to reduce the gap to 31-13.
Crusaders pivot Dan Carter who had a faultless night with the boot, scoring 16 points before he was substituted in the 50th minute, scored the first points of the second with a penalty.
The home pack then engineered their fifth try, playing the South Africans at their own game with a powerful forward drive for Matt Todd to score.
Luke Whitelock and his older brother George both scored in the final quarter before Kings full-back George Whitehead closed the game with a converted try.
The Crusaders now head to South Africa and play the Western Stormers while the Kings continue their New Zealand tour against the Hurricanes in Wellington.