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Waratahs Upset Crusaders, Chiefs March On In Super Rugby

  • 3 min read

The New South Wales Waratahs stunned the reigning champion Canterbury Crusaders in round two of Super Rugby Pacific, but the Waikato Chiefs continued their red-hot start to the season to salve New Zealand pride.

The Wellington Hurricanes also won a trans-Tasman Sea clash against the Queensland Reds in a golden point thriller on Sunday to make it two wins out of two, concluding a weekend of matches played entirely at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium.

The Waratahs came into Saturday’s match with question marks over the future of coach Darren Coleman after an opening loss to the Reds but produced the best performance of his reign to run out 37-24 winners over the 13-times Super Rugby champions.

Halfbacks Jake Gordon and Tane Edmed were outstanding and the Waratahs pack muscled up at the breakdown to lay the platform for a deserved win that put smiles on the faces of Australian rugby fans after a miserable year.

“It’s always a great feeling to beat the Crusaders, they’re a great team,” Coleman said.

“That win was great vindication for all the players and staff that work so hard in this organisation.” While the Crusaders fell to their worst start in 10 years, the Chiefs and their electric flyhalf Damian Mckenzie continued to thrive in the Sunday afternoon sunshine.

Winners over the Crusaders in a re-match of last year’s final in week one, the Chiefs made light work of the ACT Brumbies with a 46-12 victory over the best Australian team of the last few seasons.

The Chiefs blew the Brumbies pack away up front and their high-octane backline ran in six tries, McKenzie crossing once and also contributing 16 points from the kicking tee.

Sunday’s final contest was a brutal affair that featured a red card for All Blacks centre Jordie Barrett and was decided 38-33 in favour of the Hurricanes when replacement prop Pasilio Tosi plunged over the line seven minutes into overtime.

Another of the title favourites, the Auckland Blues, ratcheted up the forward power to beat the Otago Highlanders 37-29 in Friday’s round opener, number eight Hoskins Sotutu making a case for an All Blacks recall with a hat-trick.

In the most entertaining match of the weekend, Moana Pasifika built up a 24-point lead over Fijian Drua before holding off a frenetic fightback with 13 men in the last 10 minutes to win 39-36 on Saturday.

In Friday’s other match, crisis-hit hosts the Melbourne Rebels rallied for a 48-34 win over the Western Force on the back of a brace of tries each from Wallabies fullback Andrew Kellaway and former test winger Filipo Daugunu.