Dominant second half performance see Crusaders edge out Waratahs 31-29 in Christchurch

Israel Folau scored a try on the losing cause
Israel Folau scored a try on the losing cause

Crusaders 31 - 29 New South Wales Waratahs, Christchurch

Crusaders made a terrific comeback from being 0-29 behind to go on to beat New South Wales Waratahs 31-29 in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch on Saturday.

Crusaders now have reclaimed the top position from Hurricanes after registering their ninth win of the season from 11 games while Waratahs have maintained their pole position in Australian Group.

Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale played pivotal roles in setting up the opening try for Cameron Clark in the fourth minute. Foley missed out on the conversion but nine minutes later kicked a penalty goal to make it 0-8.

It was total domination for Waratahs in the remainder of the first half as Taqele Naiyaravoro intercepted a pass from Richie Mo'unga to cross over in the 17th minute and Israel Folau gathered a high kick six minutes later to score their third try. The scoreline became 0-29 when Curtis Rona dotted down in the 28th minute that was improved by Foley.

Crusaders finally showed some resilience as they pulled back things a bit with six minutes left in the first half following tries from Joe Moody (35'), Codie Taylor (39') and Seta Tamanivalu (40'+2) and Mo'unga slotted two out of the three conversions to reduce the gap to 19-29 heading into the break.

The last of the three tries from Crusaders came after Nick Phipps was sin-binned for a cynical foul.

The infringements continued from the visitors as Taqele Naiyaravoro was also yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on in the 53rd minute and Braydon Ennor capitalised on the numerical advantage to crash at close range three minutes later.

With the gap down to five points by the end of the third quarter, the pressure was evident on Waratahs and 14 minutes later referee Ben O'Keeffe awarded Crusaders a penalty try after the Australian side were penalised for several scrum infringements close to their try-line.