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Waratahs condemn the Crusaders to worst Super Rugby start since 2014

By AAP
Scott Barrett reacts after Crusaders' loss to the Waratahs (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The Waratahs have consigned the Crusaders to their worst Super Rugby season start in a decade with a shock 37-24 win over last year’s champions.

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NSW finally gave Australian rugby fans something to cheer about, with five-eighth Tane Edmed orchestrating the convincing victory on Saturday night at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, which is hosting all 12 teams over Super Round this weekend.

Coming on the back of their opening-round loss to the Chiefs, it’s the first time since 2014 that the Crusaders have lost their first two matches in an ominous sign for Rob Penney, who formerly coached NSW.

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He took over the most successful team in the competition’s history this year after being sacked by the Waratahs following their winless season in 2021.

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman had an inkling that his troops were up for something special, telling reporters after their final training run he wished he could have a bet on the $10 underdogs.

But even he would have been surprised by the four-try haul, which trumped their 24-21 win over the Crusaders back in 2022 at Leichhardt Oval. The Crusaders scored after just 90 seconds with winger Macca Springer outflanking the opposition but the Waratahs refused to be rattled.

Halves Edmed and skipper Jake Gordon kept their Crusaders’ 20-year-old halves pairing of Noah Hotham and Taha Kemara guessing while the NSW forwards dominated the breakdown battle.

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After Hugh Sinclair scored their first try off a charge down, Edmed piled on the penalties before he slipped through the defence to put Harry Wilson over right on half-time for a 23-10 lead.

The Crusaders drew first blood in the second half with Sevu Reece bagging a second try in the 48th minute, but the Waratahs hit back when Edmed kicked the ball crossfield into the waiting arms of Triston Reilly.

Gordon then pounced on a loose ball and scooted away with the lead blowing out to 37-17. The Crusaders got a late try but it was the Waratahs night to celebrate.

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