Sydney - A rampaging Robbie Fruean scored a
try in each half to fire the Crusaders to a 37-33 away win
over the Waratahs in their Super Rugby clash here on Sunday.
The dashing outside centre with a mohawk hairstyle
also set up a third as the Crusaders ratcheted up the pressure in the
second half and then fended off a late fightback to secure their sixth win
of the season.
Replacement scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius scored a 74th minute
try which Berrick Barnes converted to bring the Waratahs within four
points, but the Crusaders held firm in the closing minutes to strengthen
their bid for a berth in the playoffs.
to come away with a win there. Really tough game," Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read said in a pitchside interview. "Both teams showed
their intent early (but) it was just nice to come away with a win."
The Crusaders also welcomed back New Zealand's World Cup-winning
captain Richie McCaw from a prolonged foot injury, the 31-year-old loose
forward coming on as a replacement early in the second half.
The visitors had the best of the first half but only took a 14-13 lead
into the break after conceding the match's first try to winger Afa Pakalani from a botched line-out.
The hosts quickly spread the
ball wide where Barnes fed a straight-running Adam Ashley-Cooper, who
broke through the Crusaders line and dished off to Pakalani to cross at
the right corner.
Fruean stole the momentum six minutes later
when he burst through a pack of players, then bamboozled a clutch of
defenders before crossing beneath the posts.
The outside centre
then dashed down the left touch-line in the 34th minute and though held
up by Barnes in the last line of defence, managed to off-load to winger
Zac Guildford, who crossed for the Crusaders' second.
No 8 Wycliff Palu briefly gave the Waratahs the lead six minutes after
the break when he scooped up a ball that popped out of a rolling maul
and thundered over the line.
But Adam Whitlock snatched the lead
back minutes later with a try before Fruean capped a virtuoso display
with his second in the 54th minute.
An All Blacks-laden chain of
passes from Israel Dagg and Guildford ended with the dynamic
midfielder, who shrugged off a limp tackle from inside centre Tom Carter
on the left touch-line and charged over the line in another play
certain to draw the attention of New Zealand's national selectors.
Taylor's conversion gave the Crusaders some breathing space and though Pretorius's late try
buoyed the crowd of 30 000, the Crusaders won a late scrum to seal the
match and consign the Waratahs to their fifth loss of the season.
Tries: Atieli Pakalani,
Wycliff Palu, Sarel Pretorius. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (2),
Berrick Barnes. Penalties: McKibbin (4)
Tries: Robbie Fruean (2), Zac Guildford, Adam Whitelock. Conversions: Tom Taylor (4). Penalties: Taylor (3)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)
15. Berrick Barnes, 14. Tom Kingston, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12. Tom
Carter, 11. Afa Pakalani, 10. Daniel Halangahu, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 8.
Wycliff Palu, 7. Rocky Elsom, 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Dean
Mumm, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson (captain)
Substitutes: 16. John Ulugia, 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Sitaleki Timani, 19. Lopeti
Timani, 20. Jono Jenkins, 21. Sarel Pretorius, 22. Peter Betham
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, Zac 11 Guildford,
10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Luke
Romano, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks
Substitutes: 16 Ben
Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Willi Heinz,
21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Tom Marshall