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Waratahs claim famous victory over Crusaders

Sat, 30/04/2022, 9:03 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Waratahs hosted the Crusaders at Leichhardt Oval.

The NSW Waratahs have held on for a remarkable 24-21 win over the Crusaders at Leichhardt Oval.

Given little chance at kick-off, the incredible Dylan Pietsch set the tempo as he broke through the line to score after just three minutes.

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The stunned Crusaders had no answer to their first half charge as the hosts took a 17-0 half-time lead into the break as a 10,293 strong Leichhardt crowd gave them a standing ovation.

Scott Robertson's men did what they do best even down two men, setting up the grandstand finish with a Fletcher Newell try with six to go.

However, the Waratahs found a way to close it out and secure the victory, causing the biggest upset of the season.

The Waratahs came out with a point to prove in the first half, with Pietsch instantly breaking the line to race away and score under the post inside three minutes.

The opening busts seemed to stun the second-string Crusaders, who failed to stop the quick ball as the hosts continued to press the line.

Whilst Harry Johnson-Holmes was held up, they couldn’t stop Mark Nawaqanitawase, who dived in the corner after a great offload from Izaia Perese.

The hallmark of Darren Coleman’s defence has been their maul and goal-line, which stood up on countless times to frustrate the Aotearoa champions early, missing just four tackles in the first 40.

The Crusaders are 10-time champions for a reason and instantly found momentum when Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco was yellow carded for collapsing the maul, resulting in a penalty try.

Even down a man, the Waratahs repelled attack after attack and kept themselves in the game before Sione Havili Talitui dived over with 20 minutes to go.

When they needed it the most, man-of-the-match Pietsch was there to spark the side, breaking through to get themselves in prime position.

The resulting rolling maul proved disastrous for both teams as Hamish Dalzell was red-carded for a ugly tackle on Michael Hooper, leaving the Wallabies captain dazed and clutching his cheek.

Pablo Matera followed him off after a 5 metre maul as the Waratahs earned their own penalty try.

Despite the two-man disadvantage, the Crusaders fought back as replacement Fletcher Newell barged over with six to go.

The hunt for an equaliser had Waratah fans on edge but as he had the whole game, Charlie Gamble stepped up and earned the turnover that ultimately sealed the victory.


TRIES: Pietsch, Nawaqanitawase, Penalty Try

CONS: Edmed 2/2

PENS: Edmed 1/1


TRIES: Penalty Try, Havili Talitui, Newell

CONS: Burke 1/1, Hickey 1/1


Waratahs: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Tane Edmed, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Charlie Gamble, 5 Hugh Sinclair, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Mahe Vailanu, 1 Angus Bell.

Replacements: 16 Ed Craig, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Archer Holz, 19 Geoffrey Cridge, 20 Will Harris, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Ben Donaldson, 23 James Ramm.

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Fergus Burke, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dom Gardiner, 3 Oli Jager, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower.

Replacements: 16 Ricky Jackson, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Hamish Dalzell, 20 Sione Havili Talitui, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Dallas McLeod.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Assistant referees: Reuben Keane, Matt Kellahan

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