Forwards drive Crusaders to win over Reds

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Loose forwards Whetu Douglas and Jordan Taufua crossed over as the Canterbury Crusaders pack took control of the game in the second half to record a 22-12 win over the Queensland Reds at Lang Park in Brisbane on Saturday.

Douglas and Taufua were the last men with their hands on the ball following destructive driving mauls as the nine-time champions ramped up the pressure up front after a helter-skelter first half.

Winger Braydon Ennor and fullback Will Jordan had scored tries in the first 10 minutes of the game while captain Samu Kerevi and Scott Higginbotham scored tries for the home side.

The Reds, who had Lukhan Salakaia-Loto yellow carded in the second half, also suffered an injury blow in the 16th minute when exciting young centre Jordan Petaia limped off with a foot injury. He was placed in a protective boot later.

The Crusaders should have won by a much bigger margin given the amount of possession and attacking opportunities they had but All Blacks flyhalf Richie Mo'unga was strangely off key and struggled to stamp any authority on the game.

The visitors, who destroyed the Wellington Hurricanes last week with a fast start, repeated the intent as they stretched the Reds by getting quick ball at the breakdown.

Their first-half scoring, however, was restricted to just tries to Ennor and Jordan inside the first 10 minutes.

The fullback's five-pointer was the most spectacular as it came from the restart following Ennor's seventh-minute try.

They flung the ball wide and when Hamish Stewart misread a tackle on Jack Goodhue, the centre was able to free Jordan, who ran 40 metres before he fed Ennor and then stayed in support to take the return pass and score his first Super Rugby try.

The home side slowly got back into the game and Kerevi was able to put his side on the board after a series of thrusts close to the line opened up space for him to crash over.

The Crusaders forwards then went up a gear in the second half and with captain Matt Todd sensing they had the Reds under pressure, eschewed kickable penalties and went for attacking lineouts or scrums to score tries.

Douglas crashed over in the 49th minute, while Taufua scored when Salakaia-Loto was off the field.

Reds flanker Liam Wright had a try ruled out under review for a potential tackler being taken out before Higginbotham scored with five minutes remaining.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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