Crusaders down Waratahs

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Coming off a loss to the Otago Highlanders that broke their eight-match Super Rugby winning streak last week, the Crusaders stunned the Waratahs with a breathtaking first 20 minutes of irresistible 15-man rugby.

Tries from outside backs Johnny McNicholl and Israel Dagg as well as flyhalf Richie Mo'unga helped the seven-times champions to a 22-5 halftime lead but only flanker Jordan Taufua was able to cross for the hosts after the break.

The victory moved the Crusaders clear at the top of the Australasian conference but the Waikato Chiefs could overhaul them with a bonus point victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.

The Waratahs had a try from winger Rob Horne in addition to replacement Guildford's effort but fell to a first defeat five matches.

Prop Joe Moody set the tone for the Crusaders in the third minute with a burst through midfield which led to McNicholl touching down for the first try.

Winger McNicholl turned provider for the second six minutes later, plucking Mo'unga's crosskick out of the air and passing the ball inside for Dagg to score.

McNicholl had a second try called back for offside after 13 minutes but Mo'unga added a penalty to extend the lead to 15-0 before the Waratahs got on the scoreboard in the 26th minute.

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau cut through the midfield defence and his attempted pass was knocked back by a defender to allow Horne to touch down.

The Crusaders had the last word before halftime, however, scrumhalf Andy Ellis making the break and Mo'unga racing away to score when the ball ricocheted out of the tackle straight into the hands.

Taufua crashed over to help extend the lead to 29-5 just after the hour mark but former Crusaders and All Blacks winger Guildford scooted over from a neat inside pass five minutes later for the final try of the match.

Reuters

Original source: Crusaders down Waratahs

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