THE Crusaders again flexed their considerable muscle via a 51-18 thrashing of the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday night.
The home side ran in seven tries to the Highlanders' two, securing a bonus point to add further pressure on New Zealand conference leaders the Chiefs.
The Chiefs, who play away to the Blues on Saturday, also lead the overall standings on 53 points, but the Crusaders now sit on 51 points to move into provisional second place.
The Crusaders have now posted more than 50 points against their past two opponents, having trounced the Blues 59-12 a fortnight ago.
"We knew this was a really important game for us," Crusaders fly half Daniel Carter said.
Read the full match report at ABC news online.