The Crusaders were crowned champions of New Zealand’s domestic competition after a ferocious second-half blitz took the game out of the Highlanders’ hands.
George Bridge ran in two tries in two minutes for the Crusaders to take the lead in the 62nd minute and Braydon Ennor cemented the win with a try five minutes from time.
The result sees the Crusaders take an unassailable six-point lead at the summit of the Super Rugby Aotearoa standings, thus securing the title in grand fashion with one round of fixtures remaining.
The Crusaders won three Super Rugby titles in a row before the coronavirus crushed this year’s competition, replaced by New Zealand’s hastily-arranged domestic Aotearoa tournament between the country’s five Super Rugby sides.
There will be nothing at stake other than bragging rights when the Crusaders play the Blues and the Hurricanes face the Highlanders in the final round next weekend.