Waratahs break Crusaders curse - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Waratahs break Crusaders curse

Waratahs break Crusaders curse

The Waratahs have recorded the upset of the tournament so far, defeating the reigning champions the Crusaders 20-12 at a wet contest at the SCG. The Waratahs ended the 19 games, 370-day unbeaten streak of the Crusaders in a sloppy encounter that saw more errors than points. In the end, it was the Waratahs that were slightly better on the night, finding success through an aerial assault that saw Israel Folau dominate the contested high ball, having a hand in two Waratah tries to put them at the top of the Australian Conference momentarily.

The Match

The Waratahs got off to the dream start, with Jed Holloway muscling his way through some turnstile defence from Whetu Douglas to cross under the post to put the Waratahs up 7-0 after 5 minutes.

Their lead was extended out to 12-0 after a midfield bomb from Foley was superbly taken by Israel Folau, breaking two tackles before offloading to Cam Clark who burst away from the chasing defenders to cross in the corner.

The Crusaders were uncharacteristically sloppy to start this game off, gifting easy penalties along with losing their lineout twice within the first 20 minutes.

This was summed up when they attacked the Waratah line and a poor pass from Brett Cameron that allowed Alex Newsome to race away and the subsequent chip and chase attempt from Bernard Foley came up just short of a try when he couldn’t regather the ball right on the goal line.

The Crusaders would find some shape in attack from a lineout on the 22, with a pass that Tom Brady would be proud of from Codie Taylor putting George Bridge in a gaping hole to reduce the margin back to 5 points.

The Waratahs seemed to gain inspiration from their landlord in the Sydney Swans in this half, launching the ball away whenever they seem to get it regardless of their field position, twice in this half choosing to grubber the ball right back to the Crusaders inside the 22.

They would extend their lead with the boot when excellent counter-rucking by Adam Ashley-Cooper earned the side a penalty, which Bernard Foley slotted from 30 metres out at the end of the half to leave the score 15-7 to the Waratahs at half-time.

Karmichael Hunt Waratahs v Reds 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

The rain throughout the first half really seemed to affect the second half of this match, the ball was seemingly replaced with a bar of soup at the break, with both sides traded handling errors throughout the half.

The Crusaders looked to bring back the score to within a converted try at the 58th minute, however, Mitch Hunt pushed the penalty goal wide.

This seemed to sum up the performance by the Crusaders, who looked a shell of their usual polished self, seemingly drained by everything that has happened over the past week, along with the loss of Owen Franks shortly before kick off.

Outside of this chance, neither side seemed to threaten the other’s try line for the rest of the half, taking turns kicking for territory and then proceeding to knock on the ball, a move that will ‘surely’ bring the fans back to the game.

The game would finally open up when the barrage of bombs paid dividends for the Waratahs in the 74th minute, when Folau got the better of a cross-field contest on the goal line to plant the ball down to record the first score of this half, extending the score out to 20-7 after Foley missed the sideline conversion.

The Crusaders would cross with the last play of the game for a consolation try when Will Jordan was on the receiving end of a rare period of clean hands by their backs to bring the final score back to 20-12 at full time.

The Turning Point

After the converted penalty kick from Bernard Foley, the Waratahs immediately dropped the ball off the kickoff, giving the Crusaders prime positioning to strick back right on half time. But the Waratahs hung tough in defence, holding their attack off and causing the error, which ended up killing off any momentum that the Crusaders had, which was crucial in securing the win.


With a kick-heavy attack, the only way that the Waratahs were going to dominate was if Israel Folau showed up, which he absolutely did. He was excellent in this victory, setting up the first try after regathering the midfield bomb and handing off to Clark, before securing the win with a try of his own after an excellent cross kick from Foley

Wallaby Watch

The Wallaby contingency really stood up for the Waratahs today, especially led by Folau and the kicking game of Foley. The forwards were especially good, not losing a scrum or lineout with Dempsey and Hooper leading from the front alongside Hanigan who continues to prove that he deserves to be in consideration for the Gold jersey on merit, rather than simply being the coach’s favourite, which was the perception of many heading into the year.


Waratahs 20
Tries: Holloway (4′), Clark (11′), Folau (74′)
Cons: Foley 1/3 (4′)
Penalties: Foley 1/1 (39′)

Crusaders 12
Tries: Bridge (29′), Jordan (80′)
Cons: Cameron 1/1 (29′), Hunt 0/1
Penalties: Hunt 0/1

  • formerflanker

    Interesting to see Hooper playing closer to the breakdown in the last two matches.
    On two occasions he made two tackles in a row.
    I didn’t see him in the tram tracks at all.

    • Huw Tindall

      Definitely not swanning with the backs this season. Clear change in tactics.

    • Cameron Rivett

      This is one of the most interesting observations of the last few games. The Waratahs forward pack are capable runners and handlers of the ball, and almost every single one of them could be in the tram tracks in Hooper’s place.

  • Huw Tindall

    Well well well. Who’d have thought. Only Hoss. Now just watch the Tahs banana skin next week in Hoss’s backyard as they rest all their Wallabies. I don’t even care that my tips are in tatters this week.

    Great game though! Tahs defence, set piece, positional kicking, and bench impact went a long way to winning that game. In no world did I see myself saying those things this year.

    Everyone’s favourite punching bag Ned had a good game. Starting to show the promise he has had for a while now. Holloway some great involvements too with his try and held up maul. Even Gilbert looked good with some great runs, clearance kicks, and making a nuisance with his defensive reads.

    For the Crusaders their defence kept them in it. Tahs had so much time in their 22 and attacking lineouts they could have won by more! Probably a bit too tricky and the only rolling maul they did play was from halfway which marched them into the 22 for a penalty advantage then the cross field bomb for Izzy’s try.

    In saying all this the Crusaders are a different beast without Mounga at 10 and Read hasn’t even put his boots on yet this season! I’d add Owen Franks as a crucial element to their piece as well, out today with a niggle. Layer in the missed game last week and the terrible events in Christchurch maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that the Tahs pulled this one off.

    Bloody topsy turvey season though. This Tahs side would have rolled the Brums last week. It is a long season and maybe they are building some momentum and combos.

    • Timbo

      How about Hunts first hit up? Where has that been from any of our backrow?

      • Huw Tindall

        I was up and about after that. Seemed to give the Tahs momentum in the final quarter to keep the Crusaders under pressure.

        • Adrian

          Yes, great inspiration by Hunt

      • Cameron Rivett

        The Waratahs backline has no big hitter like Kerevi or Kuridrani, but when Hunt is on we sure seem to get over the advantage line a lot easier.

        • Damo19

          Good win Tahs (Reds supporter chokes a little typing that). They put great effort into breaching the gain line, played flat and direct, good support lines, kept Beale out of it as much as possible, and rest followed. Were you taking notes Michael Cheika?

    • Adrian

      Thanks Huw
      Yes, they all played well
      No doubt we’ll hear mentions about this mistake by Phipps, or that poor pass by Izzy, or that miss by Foley, or Hooper..or whoever….

      Fuck it was good!

      A great example of good tactics that were actually carried out,…AND tactics that matched the skill set of the players

      • Huw Tindall

        I hope we keep the Tahs coaches in Australia. Gibson is probably given too much stick, outside not being able to recruit a decent 2nd rower he’s done OK and developed a great culture. Cron will go far. Shute Shield with Norths and making a small pack play bigger than they are. Whitaker is back from overseas and seems to have got the attacking kicks going. Finally and perhaps the man of the hour is Steve Tandy. The defence this year is legitimately first rate. A great group.

        • Cameron Rivett

          Agree with this. Gibson has said that he wants his legacy to be creating depth and retaining talent, not winning Super Rugby. That’s the kind of long-term thinking that I like.

  • Fatflanker

    The Kiwi teams definitely creaking a bit with the injuries/resting of ABs. Great win Tahs nonetheless and congrats to Izzy on equalling most tries in super rugby.

  • RugbyM

    On Hooper, he had a good game tonight. Always there chasing the kick as always. And one moment at the end, after the Saders scored post siren, all the Tahs looked down and out and “well, they’ve scored but we’ve won” mentality, but Hoops had the foresight/brains/knowledge/leadership to bring the boys on the line to charge the conversion which would have given the Saders the bonus point – and every single one listened and charged.

    We have a few things to work on, but a win over a Kiwi team, and the Saders at that, is still a win over a Kiwi team!

    • Huw Tindall

      I’m a Hooper fan and it’s this kind of reason why. Nobody gives more than him.

      • Greg

        I was at the game and agree he put in.

        As captain…. he struggles with the referee imo. The pop pas that led to the first Crusader try was forward. Nice move… but forward. No one (that I saw) approached the referee to ask the question or to request a TMO review.

        There was also a no arms tackle from a Crusaders player that was not even reviewed.

        It is always swings and roundabouts on these things… but if you don’t push your own swing, no one else will.

        • Huw Tindall

          There was plenty of chat on the commentary about that pass. They took the kick very quickly too! Let’s call it very flat.

          Agree Hooper isn’t great with the ref. Not interactive enough. Think he is too focused on the game. Need someone at 10/12 who had a better view of the play to engage with the ref IMO. It can probably be learned too and plenty of good captains in the pack.

        • Greg

          At the ground the pass was shown 4-5 times on replay before the kick was taken. Lots of noise from the crowd but the ref never turned to look at the screen. it was just to the left of his vision and he stared straight ahead. Otoh why should he look… he hadn’t asked for a review.

        • Huw Tindall

          They are the ones the refs usually yield on too! Overall I’d say Jaco had a good games. Not a penaltython and kept the ruck clean and scrum stable. Of course the players helped there!

        • ALJ

          Bad enough that Peyper couldn’t be bothered looking at the screen but couldn’t the TMO have a word in his ear and say “hey mate can you hold that conversion while I check a possible forward pass?” Or was the TMO having a nature break?

        • RugbyM

          The crowd certainly saw the forward pass. But yes, no one approached the ref.
          I’m a Hoops fan, but perhaps it’s time to pass the captain’s armband over to someone else (not sure who though given the constant team changes and what not).

        • Cameron Rivett

          The fact that the Waratahs didn’t give the Crusaders another sniff despite the possibility of being demoralised by poor refereeing gifting the Crusaders their first try is a really positive sign. Last year when the same thing happened the Waratahs let the game slip away from an even greater lead. Though to be fair, this game was generally refereed much better.

  • Hoss

    2,748, 2,749, two thou, oh hi, didn’t see you standing there.

    In my youth my father would often take me aside and tell me stories designed to teach me principals for life. Teachings and life lessons of humility, decency and good grace – none of which I have ever adhered too – I was a prick of a child, truth be told, but hey……


    I told you corn-bred mofo’s, nobody would listen, not even the doyen of positivity, one Mr Adrian, well, whose your daddy now home boys !!

    Must admit I just got home from a sulubrious 50th for a long time mate and perhaps I am three sheets to the wind, still doesn’t dull the strong sense of self satisfaction and large pocket of winnings though.

    Tah’s forward pack stood up and to my eye, just played simple, direct rugby. No doubt the events of last 7 days impacted the southern Isle boys, me thinks they played there game, emotionally, about 3 days ago. Poor guys looked sapped – who could blame them.

    Now I don’t want to overstate things, perhaps this was the greatest victory in Australian rugby history, since,well, the 2014 final when a certain sky blue team also laid to rest the same southern isle team. It’s a win to saviour, not just for us in Gods playground, but for all you little people in the lesser states around Australia and I hope it was one of two blue wins for NSW tonight.

    To be fair and show some grace I am happy to accept apologies, in writing, on this site.

    Single file please, no pushing at the back and for sake of randomness, let’s start with, I don’t know, bloggers that have an avatar that start with, maybe, a K……….

    Now, where was I, aghhh yes, 2,750, 2,751…..

    • Greg

      Hoss, agreed a great win.

      Not such a great game. The turf held up much better. The scrum was solid. Foley had some good kicks… and some not so good.

      In the seond half the Tahs had two 5 m lineouts and butchered them both. The first went short up the tram tracks…. and into 3 defenders that were standing there waiting. The second was a maul at the front of the lineout that was lost. Points for trying something different but why not go to the middle and drive the maul. Get that working first before the variations?

      There was a great break from Folau in the first half. He took the ball to the line and went straight through them. It looked great. Sadly the ball did not come with him!

      I thought the Tahs did some great stuff in the first half but were about 10 points short of what they needed to bring it home. The Crusaders had very bad droppsies in the second half. It was straight from the Wallaby play book.

      • Hoss

        Must admit I had the bourbon VR goggles on mate. But the Saders looked flat, little talk on the field and just distracted. Having said that, the Tah’s pack was good, Holloway is terrific, Simmo was good, Flanders put in (i know I am amongst the minority, but I thought he was ok last week too – he is much better this year and coming good). Dempsey was good, the Irish hooker was solid and the boys just put in a solid and determined team effort.

        I’ve said before, one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but it’s a hell of a first date……

        • Keith Butler

          Yep, the Saders looked flat but that doesn’t detract from a great win for the Tahs ( through clenched teeth). Izzy’s catch a pass was a thing of beauty and the Sprinkler Spanners combo worked pretty well. On the downside you’ve got 3 more years of Gladys you lucky bugger.

        • RugbyM

          What was the comment I saw on Twitter, ‘the Tahs look like they’re playing knowing they’ll get a new stadium’

        • joy


      • Huw Tindall

        No Mounga was big difference. Bit rudderless in attack.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Hoss, in writing. I sincerely apologise for doubting the great man from Newey! A solid win, in very slippery circumstances. With Aus teams finally beating Kiwi teams we may yet be progressing.

      • From NooZealand

        Agree, it is a better and more intriguing competition.

      • Hoss

        I applied reverse logic mate – the Tah’s are a punters nightmare and so unbacakbkenthat they were a special. One of those teams you can’t back but also cannot-not back.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Really good point. They also seem to lose against the teams they should win against. And win against the teams they should lose to.

    • Human

      My grandfather was in the first QLD rugby team. I recall him telling me, as a lad, “…whatever you do son, never stop despising the pretty boys from NSW”…now I know what he meant…;-)

      • Hoss

        Fair call. We are certainly good looking.

    • From NooZealand

      Dear Hoss, Just to let you know, that although a Crusaders man, I am happy with the Waratahs’ win. I think they deserve it and make it a better competition.

      • Hoss

        Now the bourbon has left my system and I can see things more sensibly I am not getting too carried away. It was a perfect storm against the Saders. Horrendous events back home, an unexpected week of no play, discussion about their name, the resting of a few Nearlies and a slippery nite in Ol Sydney town. If the Tah’s were ever gonna win it was now.

        The win glosses over a few things like Gilbert and his form, but the Tah’s pack was solid and put in a good shift.

        Good for Oz conference at least with only 4 points separating all 4 teams. I’d hate to be the team the Saders play next though – look out I reckon.

        • From NooZealand

          Agree with your comment, still I like the result. Next week is a big one. Crusaders vs Canes in WGN.and, maybe, that’s the reason to rest some of the A team. Waiting for KRL comments before and after. Greetings.

  • Hoss

    NZ rugby in tatters. The age of the Nearlies is at an end, the king is dead.

    • Huw Tindall

      Whoever had the original line (think twitter)…not enough depth for 5 teams in NZ.

      • Gallagher

        Thats hilarious haha!

    • From NooZealand

      Not so fast. Please.

      • Hoss

        Well mate – the fact is Australian teams were unbeaten against any from the Shaky Isles this weekend. I’d call that dominance.

        Stats never lie.

        • From NooZealand

          Stats can and are manipulated (I assume reading your notes, you well know that,) In three weeks, let’s see the trend,

  • ALJ

    Good win for the Tahs and good to see another Aus victory over an NZ team after the drought last year. Re the crusaders try off the forward pass – there needs to be consistency around when the TMO and referee will intervene to stop the quick conversion being taken so they can check the try

    • joy

      I felt the pass was flat. The receiver had to reach well back to take it.

  • Andy

    Pack played well tonight. Especially in set piece. But this wasn’t vintage Crusaders. So we should take the win with a grain of salt.

    Between foley, Beale and Folau they again showed very little rugby iq. Consistently making the wrong decision when in good point scoring positions.

    For all the athletic ability Folau has he still continues to evaporate every overlap by taking on the outside man, every time. Can the coaches please convince him to draw and pass just a few times a game….

    For me, Beale was again really poor. Had a couple of nice runs early but made bad decision after bad decision and his efforts in defence show no sign of improvement. The last Saders try was 100% on him. Hunt showed why he should start at 12 every time he is available.

    And lastly, Gordon is miles ahead of Phipps. Phipps passing and kicking is still atrocious.

    • Adrian

      Like everyone, Beale did some great things and not so great things. That long run in the first 5 minutes really showed the intent.

      Of course Gordon is better than Phipps, but who drove them and drove them and drove them in the first half?… Phipps. Who set up Holloway’s try?… Phipps.

      And that defence…pure luck I guess

      • John Tynan

        Who sprayed it high and wide while hot on attack in about minute 6 and minute 20-odd? The old Bovine Sprinkler himself.

        • Adrian

          Sure, but the team kept up incredible intensity in attack and defence. That’s part of his job

    • Cameron Rivett

      Phipps was awful as usual. I was pleased to see Gibson replace him so early, the Waratahs’ threat was doubled when Gordon and Hunt were both on.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Gordon should be Genia’s back up. And I think that Hunt may just keep playing himself into a Wallas slot.

        • Cameron Rivett

          There’s no doubt in my mind that Gordon is the second-best scrumhalf in the country. To keep playing Phipps there is folly. As for Hunt, he is playing very well but we have so much depth at 12 and in the back 3 that though he may make the 30-man squad, I doubt we’ll see much of him unless there are injuries.

    • Who?

      Folau copped it for his pass to Newsome late in the first half, but for me, Newsome was too flat. Folau had drawn the second and third last defenders into the tackle, Bridge (last man) had come in to be close to the tackle and cover the next attacker, Folau did well to identify the ball should go to Newsome, but Newsome was flat when Folau was at full pace. None of our players seem to recognise that, when players are tackled, they’ll slow down, so you’ve got to be a little deeper.
      He also sent Clark in for his try.
      But I agree about Beale. He offered very little in comparison to those around him.

    • Seaweed


  • Brumby Runner

    Good win Tahs. Great to see another w over a NZ side.

    On the Cru side, I swear I’ve never seen such a poor performance from a NZ player in the No 10 jersey. Cameron was simply so far out of his depth that it was sad rather than funny to see. I know I will get criticised for saying it, but he is like quite a few players I could name in the Aussie teams, much too small to be playing Super rugby or above.

    The loss of Mo’unga was critical given the performance of Cameron, and even Hunt offered nothing after he came on late.

    Are we seeing a decline in NZ standards when second string players make up the bulk of the side?

    • Cameron Rivett

      Perhaps New Zealand’s vaunted depth isn’t so great after all. Cameron was certainly not up to the task.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Resting one key player is one thing. Resting a whole swathe of them is perilous.

        • Ed

          The Tahs have rested Gilbert for one game. They have 11 regular season games left, where many of their stars must have two games off you would think. Next Friday would a time for some of those players to have one game off.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep, look what the Rebs did vs the Sharks. Cost them dearly.

        • Who?

          Especially when you’re either going to be brilliant or terrible off the back of such an emotional week. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, they were flat.

  • Nutta

    Quick thoughts:

    HJH still not working his side of the scrum effectively. He was lucky Franks didn’t come out.

    Dempsey continues to reinforce my opinion he should be the Wobbly6.

    Hunt did more good in his first 5min then Beale did in the entire game. More clarity of purpose, more impact on game, more effect on teammates… that selection question has been well and truely answered.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep but $10 Gilbert is in the Wallabies, and Hunt will be on the bench at best. That is the Cheika way!

      • Ed

        And Spanners will be 10, no matter what Quade does.
        “Concerns about Foley’s attacking flair were extinguished when he chipped over the top and almost regathered to score.” (SMH 24 Mar 2019)

        • Brisneyland Local

          One swallow a summer does not Make. But is the great start to a date! To quote Hoss!

      • Nutta

        I’m not taking that bet.

    • John Tynan

      Nutta,Dempsey vs Jones on 6? I enjoyed watching Jones in the Rebs vs Lions, and have often thought his best spot, rather than lock – although didn’t see the Shorks game yet.
      LSL showed again he is a lock not a 6, any others grabbing your eye? McCaffery could probably play 6 for the Wobs as well (rather than 8 for me).

      • Nutta

        I’m quite a fan of Jones for his around-the-ground versatility. I agree he is a 6 and not a Lock. Both guys are tough over the ball, have pretty high work-rates and make their tackles. My reservation with Jones is that he can have hard hands and seems to tag a lot of knock-ons especially from kick-offs and short-passes. To be fair, that may be accumulated fatigue being forced to play lock when he is a loosie. Plus Jones runs very straight lines very predictably. Now don’t get me wrong – I love straight running as opposed to Beale-esque skipping about. But SOME small amount of footwork to hit the weak-tackling shoulder means you pull another 1-2m in metre-post-carry. That bends defensive lines. In comparison to Jones, some of the things I really like/prefer about Dempsey are his general ball-skills (lack of knock-ons) and he nearly always seems to get 1-3 extra metres post contact.

        McCafe is an 8. Playing McCafe at 6 likely means we have Poey at 8. And that’s just crap.

        • John Tynan

          Agree on Dempsey’s footwork in contact being a differentiator, massive fan of Jones’ work rate. Might be a “sky blue” bias….
          (Note I didn’t call it an unconscious bias) ;)

        • Nutta

          Don’t misunderstand me – I am noooo Tarts fan. I’m a Donkey’s guy generally and have the Scum as my No2

    • OnTheBurst

      Erm… Hunt did more in 5 mins than Beale has done for 12 months, in blue or gold!!!

  • Pedro

    It was good to see the tahs take the correct tactical choice to keep giving the ball to the cru in the last stages. Both teams were struggling to handle the ball but the saders had no choice but to run it, even if that meant from their own 22.

    • Nutta

      There is a lot to be said for making people play how and where they don’t want to.

  • joy

    Simmons deserved a mention too making all 19 tackles and dominating in the lineout. Indeed all our forwards defended well and this had as much to do with the Crusaders poor handling as the slippery ball.

  • Gallagher

    Wins so far this year against each other
    3 AUS v 4 NZ
    0 AUS v 2 SAF

    • Huw Tindall

      50% strike rate against other conferences. Not too bad.

  • joy

    No one sounds as constipated as that!

  • laurence king

    Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Mr Grey, Mr Cheika please note the defense.

  • Greg

    As an aside… there was a minutes’ silence at the start of the game while the players all stood in a circle. The crowd all stood. This was a good and tasteful idea, well observed by the teams and the spectators.

    After the minutes silence was announced, they also announced the death of a Waratahs stalwart and spoke briefly about him…. then we went to the minute of silence. It didn’t really fit. It would have been better to announce it completely separately, even at the next home game.

NSW Waratahs

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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