The future guardians of Crusaders glory showed their hands in an emphatic win in windy conditions at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday.
Blindside flanker Christian Lio-Willie scored the first after sharp work in the build-up from halfback Noah Hotham and hooker Brodie McAlister, who scored his fourth of the season later. Wing Macca Springer picked up the second. Prop Tamaiti Williams contributed to Springer's effort while constant presences were fullback Will Jordan, who also got on the scorecard, and centre Josh Goodhue. Rounding it all out with an assured display was first five-eighths, Fergus Burke.
It was a tough night for the home team, but although beaten, it was another significant display by one of the hardest workers for their cause, second five-eighths Levi Aumua. Skipper and No8 Solomone Funaki (25 tackles ) and flanker Alamanda Motuga (17) put in huge defensive displays, but it was the consistently higher pace of the Crusaders that made the difference allowing them to take advantage of 10 clean breaks to two and 19 offloads to seven.
Moana Pasifika 7 (Tima Fainga'anuku try; Christian Lealiifano con) Crusaders 41 (Christian Lio-Willie, Macca Springer, Will Jordan, Noah Hotham, Brodie McAlister, Scott Barrett tries; Fergus Burke 4 con, pen). HT: 0-29
MOANA PASIFIKA (1-15): Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli, Chris Apoua, Michael Curry, Mike McKee, Miracle Faiilagi, Alamanda Motuga, Solomone Funaki (c), Ereatara Enari, Christian Lealiifano, Neria Foma'i, Levi Aumua, Fine Inisi, Tima Fainga’anuku, William Havili
RESERVES: Luteru Tolai, Ezekiel Lindnemuth, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Mahonri Ngakuru, Jonah Mau’u, Jonathan Taumateine, Henry Taefu, Timoci Tavatavanawai
CRUSADERS (1-15): Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett (c), Zach Gallagher, Sione Havili Talitui, Corey Kellow, Cullen Grace, Noah Notham, Fergus Burke, Macca Springer, Dallas McLeod, Jack Goodhue, Chay Fihaki, Will Jordan,
RESERVES: Ioane Moananu, Andrew Turner, Seb Calder, Dom Gardiner, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Taha Kemara, Wil Gualter
Referee: Reuben Keane
Assistant Referee: Brendon Pickerill, Marcus Playle