Stormers were simply blown away
SUPER RUGY REACTION: A first half Crusaders blitzkrieg, which led to a 36-3 half-time lead, was more than enough to put the result to bed despite a much-improved second-half performance by the Stormers.
The second half ended deadlocked on 21-21 and that is something Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck is positive about as they head towards their second match on their New Zealand tour.
"We are going to be better [from the defeat] because the second half performance gave us plenty of positives to take - we were better on attack and defence. We can't look that much into the first half as the Crusaders were just too good for us.
"We struggled to stop their momentum, their offload game was outstanding. Once they got the roll on us, it was tough to stop them. They were putting us under pressure at the breakdown in the first half and defence was a big issue for us. Regardless of what the score was going into the shed [half-time], it was a better performance from us in the second half.
"I think that we stuck to our plan and the players relaxed a lot more when we grabbed that first try, which led to us playing a lot better," Fleck said.
Fleck paid credit to the Crusaders' defensive improvements.
"One thing about them [Crusaders] is that their defensive system has changed. Their line speed is outstanding and that had us on the back foot, especially in the first half. They have made huge strides as a team," he added.
The coach believes the defeat will stand the Stormers in good stead as they head into their second tour match - against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
"We always knew it was going to be a tough tour for us as this is a young group with only about three players who played in Christchurch before.
"This tour is about us finding each other again against tough teams in tough conditions. We want to play against the Kiwi sides who are the best in the competition. If we feel like we can learn from every performance, then it will stand us in good stead going forward," he said.