CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Flyhalf Colin Slade kicked 16 points as the Crusaders bounced back from a first-round loss to beat the Highlanders 26-20 in Super Rugby on Saturday.
Slade, who played at fullback in the Christchurch-based Crusaders’ opening defeat, reverted to his favored flyhalf role in the absence of the injured Dan Carter.
Carter and Slade may be in competition for the third flyhalf role, behind Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett, in New Zealand’s team for this year’s Rugby World Cup and Slade has a strong claim to that position as Carter battles injuries and declining form.
Slade kicked four penalties and two conversions Saturday to supplement tries by Scott Barrett and Johnny McNicholl.
At Brisbane, Australia, the Queensland Reds defeated the Perth-based Western Force 18-6, with the Reds rebounding from a 47-3 first-round loss to the ACT Brumbies.
The Reds played without two of their star signings — James O’Connor was ruled out after failing a pre-game medical. And Karmichael Hunt was stood down on Friday after it was revealed that he and two members of the Gold Coast National Rugby League team are facing drug supply charges in court next month.