Crusaders just too good for youthful Tahs
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Crusaders marched to their sixth successive victory as secured a 41-22 win against a youthful Waratahs side at Allianz Stadium.
Tries from George Bridge, David Havili, Bryn Hall, Ben Funnell and double by Tim Bateman sawed the Crusaders secure a bonus-point win.
The win is their 10th straight win over Australian opposition and they top of the New Zealand conference after six games this season.
Although messy at times, the Crusaders had too much attacking firepower for the Waratahs and made it a black weekend for Australian teams, who lost all their four Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition.
So far this season New Zealand teams have an 11-0 record over Australian opposition and are 33-3 in their past 36 trans-Tasman encounters.
The Crusaders led 19-10 at half-time but the Waratahs made a game of it early in the second half with tries from Jake Gordon and Taqele Naiyaravoro got them to within four points 26-22 after 52 minutes.
But the Kiwis weathered the storm and pulled clear in the final stages with tries from Bryn Hall and Ben Funnell to claim a try-scoring bonus point.
"We were good at times, but we made a few mistakes in the first half and they came back and kept putting pressure on us and got points off our mistakes," Crusaders skipper Sam Whitelock said.
"They got into our face and at times we spilled the ball, knocked it on and that has been their strength this year.
"We knew we had to pick it up and we had to work hard and the boys did that."
The Crusaders have now won 13 of their last 15 games against the Waratahs.
"We were really strong for 50-60 minutes, I thought with a lineout seven points down we were going to score and get even but the Crusaders were really strong in the last 20 minutes," Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper said.
The Waratahs once again paid the price for an undisciplined defensive display, missing 24 tackles in the first half alone and conceding two soft tries from lineout losses.
Languishing with only eight points from six games in the Australian conference, things don't get any easier for the Waratahs, who travel to Wellington next to take on the defending champions Hurricanes on Friday.
The 2014 champions will be hoping for Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley to overcome his ongoing concussion issues despite 21-year-old Mack Mason making a decent debut against the Crusaders.
The Crusaders have a bye this week.
Man of the match: Tim Bateman's brace and his immense workrate in the middle just put his side on the front foot. However, the award goes to David Havili. The fullback's support play was impeccable and was instrumental in most of the Crusaders' counter attacks.
Tries: Hooper, Gordon, Naiyaravoro
Cons: Horwitz 2
Tries: Bridge, Havili, Bateman 2, Hall, Funnell
Cons: Hunt 3, McKenzie
Waratahs: 15 Cam Clark, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Andrew Kellaway, 10 Mack Mason, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Irae Simone, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Tim Bateman 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Bryn Hallm 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Manasa Mataele.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)