May 4 (Reuters) – Winger Cam Crawford scored a first-half hat-trick as Australia’s Waratahs went on a record scoring spree to thrash South Africa’s Southern Kings 72-10 in their Super Rugby match in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The visitors ran in 11 tries – the first from Crawford after just 36 seconds – as they set a new competition record for the biggest wining margin by an away team with an overwhelming display of power rugby and backline running.
The rout featured six tries scored in the first half-hour with the Kings bewildered by the early onslaught and subsequently never in the game, their much vaunted defence splintered from the start by the pace of the Waratahs.
Crawford’s opening try came after a mazy run from fullback Israel Folau, who scored the second in the fifth minute with a clever burst through a gap in the leaky home defence.
The third try came from Crawford in the 15th minute as he stepped inside off the wing and held off the tacklers to stretch over the line to score.
A bonus point was secured four minutes later when lock Kane Douglas found himself free on the wing to dive over for his first Super Rugby score.
A jinking break from flyhalf Bernard Foley set up a try for flanker Michael Hooper in the 25th minute and the home crowd were stunned into silence when Peter Betham went over for the sixth try in the 28th minute.
Crawford completed his hat-trick with four minutes still to play in the first half.
Southern Kings’ teenage winger Sergeal Petersen intercepted the ball to run some 40 metres for a consolation try that briefly lifted the sombre mood at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
However, the Waratahs added four more unanswered tries in the second half from captain Dave Dennis, Betham and substitutes Ben Volavola and Tom Kingston as they bettered by nine points the record away win the Blues achieved over the Hurricanes when they won 60-7 in Wellington in 2002.
The 72-point haul for Waratahs also equalled the record number of points in a Super Rugby match by an away team, set by the Chiefs in Johannesburg three years ago.
Crawford might have had a record-equalling four tries in the match on the hour mark but flanker Hooper was adjudged to have tackled an opponent without the ball in the build-up, ruling out the effort.
The result puts the Waratahs eighth on the ladder, two places outside the wildcard spots.
The Southern Kings are second-last, one point ahead of the Highlanders who have played one match fewer. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Josh Reich)