Crusaders

Crusaders put Waratahs to the sword

The unbeaten competition leaders resisted a spirited second-half fightback from the Waratahs to consign Daryl Gibson's men to a fourth loss from six outings in 2017.

The Waratahs once again paid the price for a sloppy defensive display, missing a staggering 24 tackles in the first half alone and leaking two soft tries from lineout losses at Allianz Stadium.

Languishing in third-last spot on the ladder, things do not get any easier for the Waratahs, who travel to Wellington next to take on the defending champion Hurricanes on Friday night.

Waratahs to put Crusaders to the sword

The Waratah host the unbeaten competition leaders in Sydney on Sunday with their finals hopes in the balance after a ho-hum two-from-five start.

But skipper Michael Hooper hopes last week's thrilling comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels, after trailing 25-6 at halftime, will prove the spark that revived the Tahs' 2017 fortunes.

"The comeback gave it that extra little bit for the viewers," the champion flanker said at Saturday's captain's run at Allianz Stadium.

"That's how we want to play. Look at our stats, it's sharing the workload. That's Waratahs footy.

Crusaders back their discipline

Memories of the way the Waratahs used bruisers like Will Skelton and Tolu Latu to poke, niggle and provoke - illegally and otherwise - the Crusaders when they last visited Sydney haven't been forgotten.

Neither they should be. Watching the Waratahs forwards steam into the Crusaders in 2015, and you have to admit the city boys really did give the men from New Zealand the big V, made for painful viewing.

Former NZ 20s midfielder TJ Faiane handed first start for Blues as Rieko Ioane rested

The former New Zealand under-20s midfielder made his Super Rugby debut off the bench two weeks ago against the Crusaders, an occasion that would have come much sooner but for successive season-ending knee injuries.

This week Tana Umaga has thrown Faiane the second five-eighth starting role for the Blues match against the Western Force at Eden Park on Saturday, pushing George Moala out to centre and spelling Rieko Ioane on the bench.

Crusaders come from behind to pip Reds

Trailing 20-7 at halftime after losing three players to injury early at Lang Park, the Crusaders rallied brilliantly to keep the Reds scoreless after the break and maintain their perfect record after three rounds of the season.

The Crusaders were down to 14 men in the 68th minute after loose forward Jordan Taufua was sin-binned for a light punch on Reds lock Rob Simmons but replacement scrumhalf Bryn Hall's second try gave the visitors hope with four minutes to play.

Hunt converted Hall's try to bring the Crusaders within a point and the Reds duly crumbled under pressure.

Ioane eager for action

Nestled below his right ear the letter K is positioned above a small love heart, and further down a couple of feathers poke out above his collar. Look on the other side of his neck and there are a pair of hands clamped around some rosary beads.

This leads to his arms, both heavily tattooed - as are sections of his ribcage. On his back rest a set of angels' wings, hanging down almost as far as his hips.

Crusaders stun Highlanders

The Crusaders, like thieves in the night, stormed back from a 27-6 deficit to win 30-27 in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Crusaders wing Seta Tamanivalu snatched the win, which seemed most unlikely even 15 minutes earlier, when he streaked down the right-hand sideline and touched down with a couple of minutes to play.

His try followed late five-pointers to David Havili and Whetu Douglas, with Douglas' and Tamanivalu's winner coming inside the final five minutes, and after the Highlanders had been reduced to 14 men on the back of a Malakai Fekitoa yellow card. 

Crusaders lose Richie Mo'unga for six to eight weeks after shaky win over Brumbies

The first five-eighth had surgery on Sunday for a fractured bone in his left hand. Mo'unga told team management it was sore after they held on for a 17-13 victory at AMI Stadium on Saturday night.

"He is recovering well and expected to require approximately six to eight weeks before returning to play," the team said in a press release on Sunday night.

It seems likely Marty McKenzie will take over from Mo'unga against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday evening.

Crusaders edge Brumbies

Seta Tamanivalu and Whetu Douglas also went over for the home side, with Richie Mo'unga adding a conversion as a determined Crusaders recorded their seventh successive victory over the Canberra-based side.

Lock Rory Arnold scored an early second half try for the Brumbies, while flyhalf Wharenui Hawera added two penalties and a conversion.

The Crusaders had made a blistering start with All Blacks centre Tamanivalu, playing on the wing, scoring after just three minutes of his first official Super Rugby game for the seven-times champions since his transfer from the Chiefs.

Crusaders confirm Tamanivalu signing

The 24-year-old, who made his international debut this year in the three-match Test series with Wales, is part of the All Blacks squad for Sunday's Rugby Championship match against Argentina.

Tamanivalu is now looking ahead to a new challenge after two years with Chiefs.