Five things we learnt from NSW Waratahs - Crusaders

Sat, Mar 2, 2024, 10:39 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Tane Edmed breaks through to set up Harry Wilson for the Waratahs

Super Rugby Pacific 2024 has kicked into life thanks to a stunning boilover by the NSW Waratahs, defeating the Crusaders at AAMI Park.

Darren Coleman's men were written off before the match but produced one of their finest nights to get the result.

Don't miss Super Round 2024 in Melbourne from March 1-3. Get your tickets now! 

So what did we learn?

1. Silence the Noise

Any chat around Darren Coleman’s future was silenced instantly.

His team was written off by everyone and yet the Waratahs came out and took it to the Crusaders even after conceding a try in the first 90 seconds.

They were clinical with every opportunity they got and took the necessary risks to topple a giant in Super Rugby. They were hungry in defence and scraped for every inch

Coleman left the press conference on Friday telling reporters to back the heavy underdogs. He knew something special was in the works.

After having to deal with the pressure surrounding his job, Coleman can march back to Daceyville with all the negotiating power in the world.

2. The perfect audition

There’s no better way to impress Joe Schmidt than to topple the Crusaders and several Wallabies hopefuls did just that.

Angus Bell was at his brilliant best, throwing defenders out of his way and putting on big tackles.

Jake Gordon delivered his greatest hits, coming up with the trademark intercept try whilst diving on every loose ball.

Jed Holloway was a menace at lineout time and tackled everything that moved.

With all the talk about the Brumbies and Reds, suddenly the Waratahs rocket into discussion. 

3. Ten from Tane

In a fortnight where Australian tens have starred, Tane Edmed gave a reminder of his class.

It felt like a deliberate ploy for Edmed to challenge the line, raking up 11 caries by the time the half-time siren sounded. The strategy worked perfectly on his 11th, showcasing the strength to beat the defender and put Harry Wilson over the line.

He also kept the scoreline ticking over whilst his general kicking was great, recalibrating the radar to find Triston Reilly after overhitting a similar play to Mark Nawaqanitawase in the first half.

Edmed has become almost an afterthought with the emergence of Carter Gordon, Ben Donaldson and Noah Lolesio’s start to the season. It’s easy to forget he was right on the radar in 2022 when he was started for Australia A over Gordon and Donaldson.

Further performances like this will firmly have him on Joe Schmidt’s radar.

4. Un-Crusaders play that summed up defeat

Rob Penney will be frustrated with the way the Crusaders closed out the first half.

Down a man, the Crusaders had the chance to keep it tight and wind down the clock with 40 seconds to go.

Instead, they kick the ball out and the Waratahs strike through Harry Wilson on the siren. It undid all the good work they produced to repel the Waratahs for minutes on their line.

In the end, it proved costly as they slumped to two straight defeats for the first time in a decade.

5. Bench Impact

When you compare the benches, the Crusaders had the experience but the Waratahs had the necessary to close it out.

Ned Hanigan led the way with a special injection. He was everywhere to shut down the Crusaders and close out the game.

Triston Reilly’s try was crucial in the end and Hayden Thompson-Stringer was great in replacing Angus Bell