The NSW Waratahs have fallen to the Crusaders 43-25 in a high-scoring opening to their 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby campaign.
Playing out of Trafalgar Park in Nelson, the Tahs started strongly but were made to pay for errors and turnover as a clinical Crusaders side lept to a 24-6 lead.
A spirited effort to start the second half – which featured a double on debut for Mark Nawaqnaitawase – saw the visitors fight their way back into it but it wasn’t enough to break the hosts 31-game unbeaten run on home soil.
Will Jordan and Brendan Ennor bagged doubles for the Crusaders, efforts that would ultimately put the result out of reach for Rob Penney’s side.
The Tahs will now focus their attention on the Auckland Blues in Round 2 at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.
George Bower, Andrew Makalio, Oliver jager, Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Tom Sanders, Tom Christie, Whetu Douglas, Mitch Drummond, Richie Mo'unga, Leicester Faingaanuku, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor, Will Jordan, David Havili
Reserves: Codie Taylor, Isi Tu'ungafasi, Michael Alaalatoa, Luke Romano, Cullen Grace, Bryn Hall, Brett Cameron, Sevu Reece
Tom Robertson, Robbie Abel, Tetera Faulkner, Tom Staniforth, Rob Simmons (C), Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Jed Holloway, Jake Gordon, Will Harrison, Alex Newsome, Karmichael Hunt, Lalakai Foketi, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Kurtley Beale
Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Angus Bell, Chris Talakai, Ryan McCauley, Jack Dempsey, Carlo Tizzano, Mitch Short, Jack Maddocks
Mark Nawaqanitawase, Will Harrison, Angus Bell and Carlo Tizzano all made thier Super Rugby debuts. Jack Maddocks made his Waratahs debut, as did Tetera Faulkner who also notched his 100th Super Rugby appearance.
Tom Staniforth made his 50th Super Rugby appearance alongside new captain, Rob Simmons in the second row.
Rural Aid contribution:
Prior to Round 1, the Crusaders approached NSW Rugby and offered to contribute to their fundraising for Rural Aid - supporting rural communities ravaged by drought and fire.
The Crusaders will be donating $1,000 for every try scored – matched by NSWRU – while also taking donations from fans at the ground.
In total, $9,000 has already been raised thanks to the nine tries at Trafalgar Park.
Both sides will also be providing a signed jersey for auction following the match.