May 23 • General News, Super Rugby • 1236 Views • Comments Off on WARATAHS BEST CRUSADERS IN FINAL REMATCH

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NSW Waratahs 32 – Canterbury Crusaders 22
Asteron Life Super Rugby round 15 – ANZ Stadium, Sydney

The NSW Waratahs have bested the Crusaders 32-22 in a thrilling rematch of the 2014 Super Rugby Final at ANZ Stadium.  A brace to Taqele Naiyaravoro and tries to Rob Horne and Bernard Foley gave the Tahs their first four-try bonus point at home this year, and powered them to the top of the Australian conference with only three weeks to play in the regular season.

Much had been made of the clash between giant Fijians Naiyaravoro and Nemani Nadolo and, in the opening 10 minutes of the game, neither winger disappointed. Naiyaravoro failed to field the kick-off, gifting Nadolo a try in the corner within the first two minutes. But Taqele made amends five minutes later, when some slick handling from Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau gave Naiyaravoro the return salvo in the right corner.

And then, in a double blow for the home side, Dan Carter slotted a penalty goal to seize the lead and hooker Tolu Latu was yellow carded for a lifting tackle on Sam Whitelock.

But the Waratahs’ defence lifted under pressure, and a crunching tackle from Michael Hooper forced a penalty when Owen Franks scooped up the loose ball from an offside position. Foley stepped up, and gave the home side a two point advantage midway through the half.

And the unrelenting Tahs’ defence continued to force errors all over the park. Slade spilt an easy pass and the impressive Rob Horne pounced – sprinting 55 metres for the Tahs’ second try. Foley converted from in front, giving the Tahs a 9-point advantage which they carried into the break.

The big men continued to wreak havoc in the Crusaders’ midfield when play resumed. Wycliff Palu and Will Skelton earned Foley his second penalty goal, and then Sekope Kepu punched the ball up the middle to help Naiyaravoro back into the right corner for his second try of the night.

Trailing by 17 points, the seven-time champions called on all their experience to claw their way back into the game. Carter turned the ball back inside to a charging Nadolo, who burst up the middle and fed Richie McCaw. Ten minutes later, a rolling maul pushed replacement flanker Mat Todd into the corner. Dan Carter nailed a sideline conversion and the Crusaders were only 3 points away from a stunning comeback.

After conceding 14 points in as many minutes, a stunned home crowd was brought right back into the game when perennial villain Richie McCaw was yellow carded for entering a ruck offside with ten minutes to play.

And, unlike the Crusaders, the Tahs were able to sink the boot in while the Crusaders were down. Bernard Foley chipped over the top from a scrum, regathered and secured the win and an all-important bonus point.

The NSW Waratahs must now consolidate their position atop the Australian conference with a crucial road trip to South Africa, where they take on the Lions in Johannesburg on May 31st at 3:00am and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on June 6th at 11:00pm.

NSW Waratahs 32 (tries: Naiyaravoro 2, Horne, Foley; cons: Foley 3; pens: Foley 2) def Canterbury Crusaders 22 (tries: Nadolo, McCaw, Todd; cons: Carter 2; pens: Carter)

NSW Waratahs: 1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood), 2. Tolu Latu (Sydney University), 3. Sekope Kepu (Randwick), 4. Will Skelton (Sydney University), 5. David Dennis (Sydney University, captain), 6. Stephen Hoiles (Randwick), 7. Michael Hooper (Manly, vice-captain), 8. Wycliff Palu (Manly), 9. Nick Phipps (Sydney University), 10. Bernard Foley (Sydney University), 11. Rob Horne (Southern Districts), 12. Kurtley Beale (Randwick), 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, vice-captain), 14. Taqele Naiyaravoro (Parramatta), 15. Israel Folau (Sydney University, vice-captain).

Replacements: 16. Hugh Roach (Eastwood), 17. Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University), 18. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University), 19. Mitchell Chapman (Eastern Suburbs), 20. Jack Dempsey (Gordon), 21. Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University), 22. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs), 23. Matt Carraro (Randwick).

Canterbury Crusaders: 1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Ben Funnell, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Jordan Taufua, 7. Richie McCaw, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 9. Mitchell Drummond, 10. Colin Slade, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 12. Dan Carter, 13. Ryan Crotty, 14. Nafi Tuitavake, 15. Tom Taylor.

Replacements: 16. Codie Taylor, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Jimmy Tupou, 20. Matt Todd, 21. Andy Ellis, 22. Not used – Israel Dagg late withdrawal 23. Jone Macilai.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (RSA)

Half-time: NSW Waratahs 17 – Canterbury Crusaders 8

Yellow Cards: Tolu Latu (18th min), Richie McCaw (71st min)

Crowd: 26,971

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