NSW Waratahs produce stunning upset over Crusaders

March 2, 2024 8:03 pm

[Source: Super Rugby/Facebook]

The NSW Waratahs have stunned the Super Rugby Pacific competition with a 37-24 win over the Crusaders at AAMI Park.

Flyhalf Tane Edmed was immense for the Waratahs, engineering the incredible win with a calm performance.

He set up Harry Wilson for a 13-point lead at the break and found Triston Reilly with the cross-field kick to extend the advantage.

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The Crusaders launched the comeback but it was too little, too late as the Waratahs celebrate the special win.

Coming on the back of their opening-round loss to the Chiefs, it’s the first time since 2014 that the Crusaders have lost their first two matches in an ominous sign for Rob Penney, who formerly coached NSW.

He took over the most successful team in the competition’s history this year after being sacked by the Waratahs following their winless season in 2021.

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman had an inkling that his troops were up for something special, telling reporters after their final training run he wished he could have a bet on the underdogs.

But even he would have been surprised by the four-try haul, which trumped their 24-21 win over the Crusaders back in 2022 at Leichhardt Oval.

The Crusaders scored after just 90 seconds with winger Macca Springer outflanking the opposition but the Waratahs refused to be rattled.

Halves Edmed and skipper Jake Gordon kept their Crusaders’ 20-year-old halves pairing of Noah Hotham and Taha Kemara guessing while the NSW forwards dominated the breakdown battle.

After Hugh Sinclair scored their first try off a chargedown, Edmed piled on the penalties before he slipped through the defence to put Harry Wilson over right on halftime for a 23-10 lead.

The Crusaders drew first blood in the second half with Sevu Reece bagging a second try in the 48th minute, but the Waratahs hit back when Edmed kicked the ball crossfield into the waiting arms of Triston Reilly.

Gordon then pounced on a loose ball and scooted away with the lead blowing out to 37-17.

The Crusaders got a late try but it was the Waratahs night to celebrate.

Tries: Springer, Reece 2, Lio-Willie

Cons Kemara 1/3, Havili 1/1

Tries: Sinclair, H.Wilson, Reilly, Gordon

Cons: Edmed 3/3

Pens: Edmed 3/3

CRUSADERS (1-15): George Bower, George Bell, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett (c), Quinten Strange, Dominic Gardiner, Tom Christie, Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham, Taha Kemara, Macca Springer, David Havili, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki

RESERVES: Quentin MacDonald, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jamie Hannah, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Ryan Crotty, Dallas McLeod

WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Mahe Vailanu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jed Holloway, Hugh Sinclair, Fergus Lee-Warner, Charlie Gamble, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Joey Walton, Harry Wilson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Julian Heaven, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Dan Botha, Miles Amatosero, Ned Hanigan, Teddy Wilson, Mosese Tuipulotu, Triston Reilly