Crusaders scrape past Waratahs


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To put it bluntly, watching the Waratahs play rugby this year has been as entertaining as watching paint dry.


They have lacked any attacking potency and just look short of ideas. With Wycliff Palu out, along with Phil Waugh, Dan Vickerman, Al Kanaar and Dean Mumm – as well as Wallaby David Lyons in doubt – they are looking extremely vulnerable against a Crusaders side that is breathing fire.

The Crusaders will miss Dan Carter, who proved last week there are no real pretenders to his throne as premier fly-half, but Stephen Brett is a more than able replacement. In fact, if Robbie Deans could choose anybody in the world to replace Carter his choice on current form would probably be Brett.

One really can’t see how this Waratahs side stand a chance against a Crusaders side that just appears to be a cut above.

Match detail.


The Crusaders got the perfect start with a try by Campbell Johnstone which was converted by Stephen Brett.


The Crusaders then lost Chris Jack with a knee injury.


Young Waratah Lachlan Turner created a fantastic try beating three Crusaders to score the Waratahs first try. Hewat missed the conversion.


The Crusaders bounced straight back by creating an overlap of about 5 players on the wing as Rico Gear scores the try.


Stephen Brett was however unable to add the extras.


The Waratahs got an intercept pass and it was down to  Lote Tuqiri who was being chased by Stephen Brett. 


Tuqiri had Hewat with him but both players didn’t back themselves to go all the way and they ended up losing what would have been a dead-cert try opportunity.


Mauger then makes a break in the Waratahs defence and passes the ball to Mose Tuiali’i who dives over for another easy try.


Again Stephen Brett misses the conversion. He must have left his kicking boots at home.


Stephen Brett dummies a pass which gives him a break and the ball gets passed to Aaron Mauger who scores the Crusaders bonus point try. Brett again misses the conversion. (does it matter at all ?)


Finally the Waratahs show some form and play some rugby. They back themselves and keep the ball moving at pace as Sam Harris scores the try. Hewat converts.


The siren goes as referee Craig Joubert awards a penalty to the Waratahs. Hewat steps up and slots it keeping the Waratahs in the hunt. The whistle goes.


Half time score was Waratahs 15 Crusaders 22


The Waratahs got the first points of the second half when Hewat slotted a penalty.


The Waratahs have come out a different side as Sam Norton-Knight scores the Waratahs third try. Hewat converts and unbelievably the Waratahs are in front!


In true Crusaders style they fire straight back as Mose Tuiali’i sucks in three defenders and passes to Casey Laulala who fumbles the ball but re-gathers before losing the ball and scores the try.


This time Brett converts.


Keeping the momentum going the Crusaders break thru from another try as Rico gear goes over for his second of the match. Brett snuffs the conversion.


The Waratahs aren’t giving up and they are playing what must be their best game of the season. They break through the Crusaders line but one of the passes goes forward so they are called back.


Hewat slots another penalty to give the Waratahs their highest score this year.


Elsom has a storming run and swings the ball out wide but they are held up. Today’s Waratahs are a different side to the one we have seen all year.


Lote Tuqiri then blasts up the wing and plows over Hamilton he passes the ball to Tatafu Polota-Nau who scores the try. Hewat from in front of the posts snuffs the conversion. The Ball hit the posts. That miss cost them the match.


Report to follow.


Full time score Waratahs 33 Crusaders 34





Tries – Lachlan Turner,Sam Harris,Sam Norton-Knight,Tatafu Polota-Nau

Penalties – Hewat (3)
Conversions – Hewat (2)


Tries – Campbell Johnstone, Rico Gear (2),Mose Tuiali’i , Aaron Mauger,Casey Laulala
Penalties –
Conversions – Stephen Brett (2)



Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Lote Tuqiri, 12 Morgan Turinui, 11 Lachlan Turner, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Tim Davidson, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 David Lyons, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Adam Freier (c), 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Sam Harris, 22 Ben Jacobs

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Kevin Senio, 8 Mose Tuiali’i, 7 Richard McCaw (c), 6 Reuben Thorne, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Michael Paterson, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Caleb Ralph, 22 Johnny Leo’o

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Touch judges: Deon van Blommestein, George Ayoub (Australia)
Television match official: Bradley Wahl (Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia), Paul Ramsay (New Zealand)

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