Waratahs revel in the irony
Sydney - Former Crusaders great Andrew Mehrtens has been praised for his crucial role in securing their downfall when the Waratahs snatched a historic victory in Saturday's Super 15 final.
The Waratahs were crowned champions for the first time when fly-half Bernard Foley just cleared the crossbar with a 45-metre penalty with less than a minute remaining to secure a 33-32 win.
It was a kick Foley would have struggled to convert before gaining a crucial extra metre since coming under the tutelage of Mehrtens, who joined the Waratahs as kicking coach this year.
"We've worked on putting a bit more length in the kick.
"I knew it was right on my distance," a jubilant Foley said as Waratahs coach Michael Cheika joined in the praise of the former Crusader.
"I love the irony of the situation," said Cheika, who also has former Crusader Daryl Gibson as his assistant coach.
"The man kicked a goal from just a touch outside his range under pressure, under the guidance of Andrew."
Mehrtens, who won five Super rugby titles during his 87-match career with the Crusaders and remains the fourth highest points scorer in the history of Super rugby, had predicted that - despite his new association with the Waratahs - his former team would win.
"I've enjoyed working with the Tahs this year, I've been really impressed with their work ethic and the way they play, but I can't go into bat for them against my old team," he said in the lead up to the final.
"My money is on the Crusaders, just because of the ability they have to lift themselves for the occasion."