Crusaders crush Rebels, Highlanders down Waratahs

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Ruthless Crusaders maintained their perfect Super Rugby record this season with a 41-19 bonus-point drubbing of Rebels after Highlanders turned on the style in the second half to see off Waratahs.

There appears to be no stopping the runaway New Zealand Conference leaders, who ran in six tries at AAMI Park to match the run of 13 straight victories which the 2002 Crusaders team achieved.

Scott Robertson's side were a class apart from the Rebels, blowing the Melbourne outfit away in the first half with another ominous display.

Israel Dagg made his comeback as Jed Brown crossed twice in a first half which also included tries from Manasa Mataele and Seta Tamanivalu.

David Havili burst through for another Crusaders five-pointer after the break and Mitchell Drummond added a sixth following a powerful run from Jordan Taufua, with Richie Mo'unga scoring 11 points from the tee.

Marika Koroibete scored a try in each half for Rebels, who have now lost five in a row and suffered a further blow when Sean McMahon went off late after suffering an arm injury.

Highlanders reeled off a ninth consecutive victory, but they had to come from behind to defeat the Tahs 44-28 at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The 2015 Super Rugby champions trailed 14-13 at the interval as a result of clinical finishes from Israel Folau and Taqele Naiyaravoro after Richard Buckman punished a poor Bernard Foley grubber kick to go over.

Highlanders took charge after Dean Mumm was sin-binned for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle on Elliot Dixon, with Liam Coltman and Tevita Li scoring in quick succession.

The replacements also had a big say, Lima Sopoaga particularly impressive as he scored a try and pulled the strings, while Rob Thompson and Daniel Lienert-Brown also dotted down as Highlanders moved second in the New Zealand Conference.

Cheetahs ended a nine-match losing streak in emphatic fashion, Uzair Cassiem running in two of their seven tries in a 47-7 rout of Sunwolves in Tokyo.