Waratahs end Crusaders' winning run in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Israel Folau equaled Doug Howlett's record of 59 Super Rugby tries as the New South Wales Waratahs beat the Crusaders 20-12 in Super Rugby on Saturday, ending the defending champions' winning streak at 19 games.
Folau followed up a high kick to score in the 73rd minute and to clinch the Waratahs' win after they had led 15-7 for most of the second half.
In doing so he ensured the Waratahs ended the Crusaders' record-breaking streak, which began in March last year and included a record eight-straight wins on the road.
The Waratahs made a fast start, scoring tries through lock Jeb Holloway and wing Cameron Clark to lead 12-0 after as many minutes. They then kept steady defensive pressure on the Crusaders who made an uncharacteristic 18 handling errors.
The Waratahs were able to pin the Crusaders within their half and those errors cost the champions their usual continuity.
"Looking up at the board I see we had 46 percent of possession so we're building wins off defense," Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said. "I'm really happy that we were able to get tries when we can and then were able to build a big wall to stop these guys."
The Crusaders were playing their first game in two weeks after last weekend's scheduled fixture against the Highlanders was canceled in the wake of the shooting at two mosques in Christchurch which left 50 dead. On Saturday, the teams stood together silently before the game to remember the victims.
Earlier, winger Wes Goosen scored two second-half tries and Beauden Barrett contributed 14 points as the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Stormers 34-28.
The match presented a stark contrast in styles between the Hurricanes, who lacked a reliable set piece and tried to play the game at pace, and the Stormers, who sought to slow play and control possession through a powerful forward pack.
The Hurricanes finally emerged on top, snatching the lead with a try to Barrett 10 minutes from full time and outscoring the Stormers by five tries to three.
The Stormers turned repeatedly to their rolling maul which brought them tries but deserted them in the final minutes of the match when they had territory and repeated opportunities to score.
A penalty against the Stormers as they tried to set a lineout drive in the final moments of the match decided a close contest in the Hurricanes' favor. They were able to hold the ball for the last three minutes and run out the clock.
"From the outcome point of view it was good, we were certainly after that win," Barrett said. "But there were moments there where we were frustrated."
The lead changed hands five times in a close match in which neither side managed to exert complete control.