Super Rugby Waratahs v Crusaders at Allianz Stadium
Super Rugby Waratahs v Crusaders at Allianz Stadium. Waratahs Dean Mumm. Photo: Steve Christo
It is now however. Willi Heinz turns and drives the ball into touch and that's a four-point win for the Crusaders. Five, actually, with the four-try bonus point. Waratahs get one themselves for finishing within seven. It was a much-improved effort from the home side tonight but the hoodoo against the Canterbury club remains. Full-time. Crusaders 37 Waratahs 33. That's it from us tonight, thanks for your company and be sure to grab tomorrow's Herald or visit smh.com.au for all the wash-up from Greg Growden and Georgina Robinson.
The Waratahs will move heaven and earth to win this scrum. Not quite over yet.
Siren has sounded.
79 min: Crusaders smart at the breakdown there. They'll have the put-in and the ball will be pounded into touch as soon as possible.
78 min: The home side will have another chance with barely a minute to play. 50m out now.
78 min: Tahs lose the lineout and with it, perhaps, the match.
77 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs who'll be keen to get us back underway as quickly as possible. Tahs lineout 40m out.
75 min: Pretorius with the put-in for the Tahs deep inside their own half. Four minutes to go and the Waratahs are looking at at least one point if the score stays as is. But that won't be all they're after.
74 min: TRY to the Waratahs. Great work from Sarel Pretorius who pilfers the ball from the scrum and darts around three defenders to score. Crusaders still lead 37-33 after Berrick Barnes adds the extras. Great finish coming up.
71 min: Crusaders have the put-in but there's still plenty of time for both sides.
70 min: Tahs have an attacking lineout in great field position. Grandstand finish coming up if they can make something of this. Sekope Kepu off and Polota-Nau returns for the Waratahs.
30,663 on hand at Allianz today. Crowd no doubt boosted by the visit of some of the great names in world rugby, but surely more Sunday afternoon fixtures is worth considering.
69 min: Penalty successful. Crusaders lead 39-26 with 10 minutes to play at Allianz Stadium.
67 min: Kieron Read cuts the Waratahs to pieces up the middle before the home side gives away a penalty. Taylor to take the shot and the Tahs are probably happy to concede three here. Could easily have been seven and game over.
McKibbin off for Sarel Pretorius. Great kicking display.
65 min: Another three to the Waratahs halfback and it's 34-26 with 15 minutes to play. No sign of the fat lady as yet.
64 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs. McCaw offside in tackling Benn Robinson. McKibbin will take the shot, nothing wrong with taking the points but they're still eight down if they land this.
62 minute: The Waratahs just beginning to look like putting something together themselves before Rocky Elsom spills it in the centre of the field. Crusaders looking to extend the lead further.
Crusaders are looking like seven-time champions as they go wide again. There's a sense of danger every time Robbie Freuan gets near the ball.
57 min: A spectacular kick from Carter and the Waratahs are under pressure again. Betham driven back beyond his own line before a hospital ball to Berrick Barnes who manages to boot it away. Sloppy stuff from the home side although the kick was good.
A massive cheer goes up, probably from both sets of fans to be fair, as the great Richie McCaw takes the field. Even I feel like clapping.
54 min: Another two from Taylor to put the Crusaders ahead 34-23, and that's the bonus point for the fourth try.
53 min: TRY to the Crusaders, and you get the impression the Tahs might just be dropping their bundle a little bit. Brilliant work from Guildford, Dagg and Freuan who somehow scrambles through a tiny gap near the touchline to run 25m to score. That's his second for the afternoon and the visitors are up 32-23 with a kick to come.
52 min: And he makes no mistake from 30m out. Crusaders 27 Waratahs 23
51 min: And it's another PENALTY to the Crusaders. Taylor to keep the scoreboard ticking over by the looks of it.
McKibbin keeps his perfect record intact and the Waratahs are back within a point. 24-23.
50 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs- not releasing the ball. McKibbin to take the kick.
TRY awarded. Crusaders back in front 22-20 with a kick to come. Some great rugby from both sides but the Crusaders speed out wide looks like it may just have the Waratahs' measure. Taylor adds the extras and it's 24-20 after 49 minutes.
47 min: Could be a try to the Crusaders here from Samuel Whitelock. Looks like he got the ball down to me but we'll be going upstairs for a look. Great leadup work from Kieron Read and this should be five points.
46 min: McKibbin adds the extras to put the Tahs further in front. 20-17. Another short kick-off from the Crusaders is knocked on. Michael Foley won't be happy with these gift opportunities.
45 min: TRY. The Tahs look to drive it over the line before a big hole opens up for Wycliff Palu to crash over. Waratahs back in front 18-17 with a kick to come. Great forwards try from the home side.
44 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs. Some good attacking play looks to pay dividends as Robinson eschews the chance to take the three. Great opportunity here with an attacking lineout barely 10m out from the Crusaders line.
42 min: Better work from Peter Betham this time who is finally brought to ground by three Crusaders
41 min: Tom Taylor adds another three to his tally. Crusaders 17 Waratahs 13. Richie McCaw warming up on the sideline.
41 min: PENALTY from the scrum to the Crusaders who'll take the shot at goal.
40 min: The Crusaders try the short kick-off and it comes off as the Waratahs knock it on. Early attacking opportunity for the visitors.
McKibbin makes it a one-point ball game as we head to half-time. Crusaders 14 Waratahs 13. We'll be going for a water break ourselves and will be back in a few minutes with the second half action, plus the half-time assessment from the Herald's Georgina Robinson. Back soon.
40 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs after the siren. McKibbin will take the kick.
38 min: The Waratahs will have another chance to take back the lead heading into the break with a minute to play. Tom Kingston tackled on the 40m line before Tatafu-Polota Nau makes some good metres. Home side look threatening indeed.
35 min: Two more from Taylor there. Crusaders lead 14-10 and all of a sudden, following a big bust from Robbie Freuan, it's looking like a slightly different ball game. Spectacular stuff.
33 min: TRY to the Crusaders. Robbie Freuan is absolutely carving the Tahs up out wide and almost scores himself before giving it back inside to Zac Guildford who scores. Crusaders 12 Waratahs 10, kick to come
31 min: A bad error from the Tahs' new boy in Peter Betham who spills a very easy ball. Nerves perhaps?
30 min: McKibbin lands the penalty and it's Waratahs 10 Crusaders 7 as we enter the home stretch of this first half.
29 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs, Read deemed offside, perhaps a touch unfair. Waratahs to take the gift three points
The Crusaders have donned the black armbands today in remembrance of Sir Fred Allen, former All Black player and coach who passed away this week. Our condolences to his family and the wider New Zealand rugby community.
27 min: A golden opportunity for the Waratahs with a scrum 20m out from the Crusaders line, another rare error from Kieron Read although, it's happened twice today so perhaps it's not so rare after all. Great pressure from the Tahs and it won't be letting up just yet
24 min: Adam Ashley-Cooper almost finds another hole before the Crusaders once again turn it over. Dan Carter goes high but it's straight down the throat of Peter Betham
Still 7-7 at Allianz Stadium after 22 minutes of what has been an engrossing encounter so far. The Waratahs do seem to find another level of intensity against top-class opposition, and while the Crusaders have had the better of the attacking opportunities it's still anyone's game.
18 min: Crusaders on the attack once more after Berrick Barnes comes off second best to Zac Guildford contesting a high ball from Dan Carter.
16 min: TRY. Freuan gets onto a great ball 40m out and crosses all but untouched. Taylor adds the two and we're all locked up here. 7 apiece.
15 min: Crusaders looking ominous with Tom Taylor almost scoring before McKibbin turns the ball over and finds touch, but the visitors go on the attack again and it's a great TRY to Robbie Fruean
12 min: McKibbin adds the extras and keeps his spectacular record with the boot. 18 from 20 in 2012, and plenty of them have been from the sideline as that one was. Waratahs 7 Crusaders 0
11 min: TRY. A great team try as Dave Dennis makes a break before offloading to Kane Douglas who puts Adam Ashley-Cooper into a hole for Atieli Pakalani to score his fourth Super Rugby try in the corner. Waratahs 5, Crusaders 0, kick to come
10 min: Still 0-0 as the Tahs go on the attack
8 min: The Tahs make a break down the short side through Brendan McKibbin before flicking a pass back inside to Pakalani who can't quite hold onto it
7 min: Waratahs' lineout on their own 22m, great kick there from Corey Flynn.
5 min: PENALTY to the Waratahs who'll have the lineout 10m the Crusaders' side of halfway.
3 min: Crusaders with all the early ball but a rare error from Kieron Read who coughs it up
The Waratahs starting XV: Ashley-Cooper, Atieli Pakalani, Kingston, Carter, Peter Betham, Barnes, McKibbin, Palu, Jenkins, Dennis, Douglas, Mumm, Kepu, Polota-Nau, Robinson
2 min: A rare miss and we're scoreless at Allianz
1 min: PENALTY to the Crusaders. Great start from both sides, a beautiful counter-attack from Robbie Freuean looked dangerous for the visitors before some hands in the ruck from Dave Dennis could gift the Crusaders an early lead. They're taking the three.
1 min: Berrick Barnes gets us under way and the Tahs have ended up with possession, good early opportunity.
Teams coming down the tunnel now in front of a healthy crowd as Benn Robinson leads the Tahs onto the turf. The only man who knows what it's like to beat the Crusaders - captain Rocky Elsom - is on the bench.
Welcome to today's live coverage of the match between the Waratahs and Crusaders on a slightly chilly Sydney afternoon at Allianz Stadium. It's a rare Sunday fixture for the injury-hit 'Tahs and perhaps they'll be hoping the change of scene can counter their terrible recent record against the Cantabrians - they haven't beaten McCaw's men in eight years - no other Super Rugby side can boast such a dominant record over the Waratahs.
Join the Twitter outlaw, James Polson, for another afternoon belter between the Tahs and Crusaders.
Last meeting: Round 3 2011 - Crusaders 33 bt Waratahs 18 at Trafalgar Park
Head-to-head: Played 18 Crusaders 14 Waratahs 4
In Sydney: Played 8 Waratahs 3 Crusaders 4
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)
Greg Growden writes: No wonder the Waratahs are edgy in Crusaders week, because their record against them is dreadful. So many Tahs have never experienced triumph against the Super Rugby powerhouse, and that's unlikely to change on a sunny Sunday.
AAP writes: It must be the halfway mark of the season ... the Crusaders are roaring. The seven-time champions were back in their groove against the Hurricanes, whipping up a 32-0 lead in the first half, and they'll like the prospect of an afternoon clash in Sydney. Dan Carter's move to inside centres has payed off, Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford are back hitting gaps, the scrum's demolishing rival packs and Kieran Read is at his peak. And that's not to mention that Richie McCaw will make his return off the bench. The Waratahs have lost key backs Rob Horne and Bernard Foley and will struggle to contain the visitors both out wide and up front.
WARATAHS (from): Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Peter Betham, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Tom Carter, Rocky Elsom, Tom Kingston, Daniel Halangahu, Jono Jenkins, Sekope Kepu, Brendan McKibbin, Dean Mumm, Atieli Pakalani, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sarel Pretorius, Benn Robinson (capt), Jeremy Tilse, Lopeti Timani, Sitaleki Timani, John Ulugia.
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Dan Carter, Zac Guildford, Tom Taylor, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Luke Romano, Tom Donnelly, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Samuel Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Willi Heinz, Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall.