Crusaders beat Reds 38-5 in Super Rugby

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) Winger Jone Macilai scored three tries as the Crusaders beat the Queensland Reds 38-5 Friday to boost their challenge for the Super Rugby title with their eighth straight win.

Macilai, on the left wing, scored all three tries at the end of backline moves from set pieces to improve the Crusaders' record to 8-1 and move them level with the first-place Chiefs.

The winger had a fourth try disallowed and charged down the conversion of the Reds' only try – scored by Campbell Magnay – to cap an outstanding performance.

Macilai scored at the end of swift passing movements from scrums in the fourth and seventh minutes and again in the second minute of the second half.

Lock Scott Barrett and replacements Jordan Taufua and Codie Taylor also scored tries for the Crusaders, who took a bonus point.

The Crusaders have now scored 13 tries in the first quarter of matches this season, the best record in the tournament and more than twice as many as the next-best team.

Their strong start and solid defense were pivotal as the Reds had more than 60 percent of possession through the remainder of the match. The Crusaders were also punished with 13 penalties and a yellow card to skipper Kieran Read.

''We had a good start after a week off (for a bye),'' Read said. ''The guys were excited to get back out on the field and it certainly does help to get off to a start like that.

''The one glaring, obvious thing was the number of penalties we gave away and we have to fix that up because there are a number of better sides that will score points there.''