The Crusaders have discovered their Super Rugby attacking verve with a rollicking 52-31 over the leaky Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Giant Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo scored three of the Crusaders’ six tries while flyhalf Colin Slade reaped 25 points as the New Zealand side made it two-from-two on their South African tour.
They also displayed the expressive rugby lacking in their first six games, in which they had scored just 12 tries.
A fourth win from seven games lifts the seven-time champions into a mid-table position ahead of tough games against the Chiefs and Brumbies.
The Cheetahs scored four tries but slumped to a sixth loss from eight to virtually end their hopes of repeating last year’s maiden playoffs appearance.
Their defence is comfortably the worst in the competition, averaging nearly 40 points conceded per game.
The Cheetahs threatened to snatch victory after scoring three converted tries in the space of nine minutes midway through the second half to lead 31-26.
However, the visitors found their second wind to respond with four in the last 16 minutes, including two to Nadolo, and one each to the influential Slade and reserve back Tom Taylor.
Unlike the previous week’s win over the Lions, the Crusaders started strongly although they created just one first-half try to fullback Israel Dagg to match an early score from Cheetahs wing Cornal Hendricks.
An exquisite offload from No.8 Kieran Read 27 seconds after halftime sent Nadolo over for his first Super Rugby try before the hosts responded with some dizzying attack of their own.
Halfback Sarel Pretorius, reserve forward Teboho Mohoje and fullback Willie Le Roux scored long-range tries to put their team ahead before their defence flagged badly over the final quarter.
The victory is the Crusaders’ 12th in 14 games against South African teams.