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Friday Apr 12, 2024

WATCH: Late Waratahs drop goal sinks Crusaders in Super Rugby classic

The Waratahs and Crusaders played out what was quite possibly the best rugby match across all competitions so far this year.

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With 13 lead changes throughout the match both sides had their opportunities to get ahead only to be reeled in by the other.

Scoring first, the Crusaders struck through quite possibly the best player of the day in Sevu Reece as the All Blacks winger scampered over inside the first minute.

All Blacks winger bounces heralded Wallabies prospect

Striking back immediately, Waratahs’ backrow Lachie Swinton went underneath the posts, with Tane Edmend putting the hosts in front by two points.

Striking again, Reece got his second as he barged highly touted Wallabies prospect Max Jorgensen out of the way to go over in the right-hand corner once again.

This time, the try would be converted at the Crusaders would take the lead.

Continuing the seesaw nature of the fixture, the Tahs would strike back with two Edmend penalties to take a 13 – 12 lead.

With Reece once again to the fore, the Crusaders struck back with a superb piece of interplay that had several offloads before Dallas McLeod touched down in the 23rd minute.

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In a remarkable example of how fit the two sides are, the match continued at breakneck speed as Ned Hanigan crashed over with Edmend’s conversion, putting the hosts back in front 20 – 19 inside half an hour.

Riley Hohepa would add a penalty to the Crusader’s tally 33 minutes before Edmend responded four minutes later, with the half ending 23 – 22 in the Waratah’s favour.

Picking up where they left off in the first half, the two sides went at it from the off, with Hohepa adding the first points of the half in the 50th minute.

Rivez Reihana was the next to add his name to the scoresheet seven minutes later, only to see the Tahs respond through Dylan Pietsch, with Edmend’s conversion nudging the home side in front.

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Scrumhalf Mitch Drummond put his team back on top in the 63rd minute only to see Julian Heaven score what looked to be the decisive try.

As if not already a wild fixture, the Crusaders barged over for what now surely looked to be the final score of the match through replacement backrow Christian Lio-Willie.

With the formality of time eating conversion to come, the Crusaders looked to be home and dry.

What followed was a mind-blowing restart with no time left on the clock.

Showing incredible poise, the Tahs went through the phases and were rewarded with a penalty about 40m out as Welsh international Johnny McNicholl was pinged for a deliberate knock-on.

Lining up the kick replacement flyhalf, Will Harrison showed nerves of steel to slot the kick and take the match to golden point.

With their tails up and the crowd behind them, the Waratahs went to work.

Working their way up the pitch, the home side kept hold of possession masterfully before Harrison slotted a pristine drop goal to seal the result in front of the Waratah’s Super Rugby winning team of 2014.

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