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Rugby365

Israel Folau has become Super Rugby’s joint-record try scorer as the Waratahs cast sentiment aside to shatter the Crusaders’ aura of invincibility with an emotion-charged 20-12 victory over the reigning champions.

In the titleholders’ first outing since the Christchurch terror attacks rocked their city eight days ago, the Crusaders had their record 19 match-winning streak come to a screeching halt at the SCG on Saturday.

Early tries from lock Jed Holloway and winger Cam Clark, in his first start of the season, and Folau’s 59th five-pointer for NSW earned the Waratahs a famous win.

Folau’s strike six minutes from full-time not only sealed the Waratahs’ stirring victory but also pulled the superstar fullback level with former All Black Doug Howlett for the most tries in Super Rugby.

The Crusaders hadn’t lost for more than a year, a 17-25 Round-Five loss in 2018 to the Highlanders in Dunedin, before the competition giants reeled off 14 successive wins to claim their unrivalled ninth title.

In a poignant start to the night, the Waratahs and Crusaders entered the playing arena side by side before huddling together, coaches included, for a minute’s silence before kick-off to remember the 50 victims killed.

But the Waratahs wasted little time getting down to business, with Holloway charging through some uncharacteristically soft defence from the Crusaders to score under the posts in just the fourth minute.

When Folau leapt hight to collect a midfield bomb from Bernard Foley before putting Clark away down the left wing for the Waratahs’ second try, the hosts were 12 points in front after as many minutes.

Only a desperate try-saver on the line from winger Breydon Ennor on Foley saved the Crusaders from falling in an even deeper hole before the champions struck back with a dubious try to George Bridge on the half hour.

Replays showed the inside pass from hooker Codie Taylor to the scorer was forward, but the try stood.

A Foley penalty put the Waratahs 15-7 ahead at the break and, unlike last year in Christchurch when they relinquished a 29-0 lead to the Crusaders, this time there was no such second-half collapse.

The Waratahs’s third win from five starts this campaign lifted the Waratahs above the Melbourne Rebels into top spot in the Australian conference before next Friday’s trip to Newcastle to face the Sunwolves.

Man of the match: Israel Folau was outstanding in difficult conditions and he scored one of his team’s tries. He deserves the award.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Holloway, Clarke, Folau
Con: Foley
Pen: Foley

For Crusaders:
Tries: Bridge, Jordan
Con: Cameron

The defending champions Crusaders suffered their first defeat of the season when they went down 12-20 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The Crusaders were frustrated during the 80 minutes by a determined and gutsy Waratahs side, who outscored their opponents by three tries to two.

It was also evident that the difficult humid conditions did not help the men from Christchurch with uncharacteristic loose passes and drop balls being the norm for them during the match.

Before this match, the Crusaders were on a 19-match winning run.

More to follow…

Man of the match: Israel Folau was outstanding in difficult conditions and he scored one of his team’s tries. He deserves the award.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Holloway, Clarke, Folau
Con: Foley
Pen: Foley

For Crusaders:
Tries: Bridge, Jordan
Con: Cameron