Crusaders have too much class for the Waratahs
Regardless of the slippery conditions in Christchurch on Friday the Crusaders stung the Waratahs with two tries in the opening ten minutes to leave the visitors with too much to do as they had to play catch-up rugby from this point on.
The first try was classic Crusaders as their forwards showed some deft skill in terms of smart offloading and running into space. On this occasion prop, Joe Moody was on hand to receive the wrap around ball and burst clear. The recycled ball eventually found Johnny McNicholl ready to slide over for the score. The second came only a few minutes later and was yet another typical score from the Kiwi side as the rolling maul gained momentum before Richie Mo'unga found his winger with a well placed cross kick and Israel Dagg was the final beneficiary.
Another Israel (the one in blue this time around) was next to spark things. Folau drifted away from a potential defender and then stepped on the gass to create a break. Ron Horne was there to finish off the move.
If the Waratahs thought they were back in the game at 15-5 they would be mistaken. Another smart move from a Crusader lineout led to Andy Ellis slipping a ball out of the tackle to his flyhalf who needed no second invitation to race through for the third try for the home side.
Having dominated the opening forty the Crusaders were deservedly leading 22-5 at the break. In difficult conditions the forwards were supplying a solid platform and the halfbacks of the home side were controlling the game beautifully.
The rain refused to subside and as such this contest was always bound to be a bit of an armwrestle as the second half proved to be. The Waratahs valiantly tried fighting their way back into the match but the New Zealanders would have none of it as one try a piece was traded in the second stint.
For the Aussie side Folau remained their most lethal attacking option whilst there were many impressive performers for the Crusaders. The pack was all immense whilst Mo'unga was superb in all aspects as pivot.