The Waratahs have put in an impressive performance to defeat the Crusaders 32-22 at ANZ Stadium.
The Waratahs could not have had a worse start to the match with Naiyaravoro knocking the ball on from the kick off and gifting the Crusaders possession in the Waratahs 22. After several phases the Crusaders powerhouse winger Nemani Nadolo scored a nice try in the corner. Dan Carter missed the conversion from the sideline.
The Waratahs replied almost immediately with Israel Folau setting up Taqele Naiyaravoro in the corner. Bernard Foley converted to bring the score to 7-5 after 8 minutes.
Minutes later the Waratahs were almost in for another try after Bernard Foley intercepted a Crusaders pass however, the referee was playing advantage and gave a penalty to the Crusaders. The Crusaders then put on their rolling maul to get over the line however, the television match official could not find evidence of the ball over the line. The Crusaders were awarded a penalty and Carter put the Crusaders back in the lead. 7-8 after 12 minutes.
Exciting passages of play saw a penalty awarded to the Waratahs right in front but Kurtley Beale could not get the Waratahs in front.
A late and dangerous tackle on Sam Whitelock by Tolu Latu and Will Skelton saw a yellow card given to Tolu Latu.
The Waratahs were down to 14 men but Rob Horne pounced on a knock from Colin Slade to score under the post. Foley added the extras to bring the score to 17 – 8 after 24 minutes.
A huge tackle from Dave Dennis saw another opportunity for the Waratahs but a try to Bernard Foley was disallowed after it was ruled Dave Dennis knocked the ball on in the tackle.
After 25 phases of attack in the Crusaders 22 the Waratahs came up empty as they were awarded a penalty.
Half time: 17-8 to the Waratahs.
The second half opened with the Waratahs hot on attack and were rewarded with a penalty in front. 20 – 8 after 43 minutes.
After sustained pressure from the Waratahs, Israel Folau set up Naiyaravoro again in the right corner. 25 – 8 after 52 minutes.
The Crusaders were not going to go down without a fight and hit back immediately with Nemani Nadolo pushing a pass to Richie McCaw to go under the posts.
The Crusaders were in again in the 65th minute after a rolling maul from 5 metres out. Carter converted the try to bring the Crusaders within 3 points, 22 – 25.
A cynical penalty from Richie McCaw saw him leave the match with a yellow card.
The Crusaders were in it right until the end but a fantastic chip and chase from Bernard Foley gave the Waratahs a four try bonus point and took the pressure off the Waratahs.
Full Time: 32-22
The Game Changer
It was nail biting action right up to the end until Bernard Foley’s brilliant individual effort to seal the match.
The G&GR MOTM
Israel Folau was magnificent for the Waratahs – setting up a couple of tries and beating several players overtime he touched the ball.
Rob Horne was superb on the wing and is surely one of the favourites to be on the wing for the Wallabies. Another mention goes to Steven Hoiles was everywhere and did the hard work in the rucks so the Waratahs could get clean ball.
A mention must go to referee Marius van der Westhuizen who officiated the match well.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Naiyaravoro 2, Horne, Foley
Conversions: Foley 3
Penalties: Foley 2
Tries: Nadolo, Todd, McCaw
Conversions: Carter 2
Cards & citings
Yellow cards: Tolu Latu, Richie McCaw
Citings: Will Skelton, Tolu Latu – Both were cited for the lifting tackle on Sam Whitelock in the 17th minute