After an emotional week in Christchurch following the attacks at two Mosques, and what must have been a taxing affair on the players emotionally as they assisted their community in its recovery, the Crusaders came undone against the Waratahs. After having won their first five games in a row, this was one they did not expect to lose.
A week after the attacks and their game against the Highlanders being called off, the Crusaders hit the road, travelling to Sydney to take on the Waratahs. In a close game, the Waratahs however came out on top, winning the contest 20-12 and scoring three tries to the Crusaders two.
Israel Folau and his prowess in the air, were show cased in telling fashion as he created the first try for Cameron Clark before scoring one of his own. The Fullback is now shared record holder with Doug Howlett for tries scored (59) and is likely to surpass him in the coming weeks. With the Fullback commenting that he’d like to see more high balls coming his way as he looks to increase his tally.
Whilst the Crusaders remain top of the log on 19 points, 1 ahead of the Lions. They will be looking to bounce back as they face the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium this week. The two points they took for the cancelled game as well as not recording any log points this weekend has left them vulnerable on the log now.
The possible return of their iconic 8th Man, Kieran Read looks likely this week and the team will be happy to include his leadership on the field and his general skills as they seek to get the wheels rolling again. With the All Blacks captain joining the team refreshed and energised his charges will surely step it up a notch.
On the other hand the Waratahs will be more than satisfied in having put a strong Crusaders outfit to bed and you can be sure that they scored some psychological points should these two teams meet again in the business end of the competition. The Waratahs next face the Sunwolves and will look to keep building and retaining their spot atop the Australian conference.
Written by: Nicholas Halsey