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21 Mar 2008 09:54
New Zealand’s Canterbury Crusaders piled on 28 unanswered points in the last 27 minutes to crush Australia’s New South Wales Waratahs 34-7 in a Super 14 match at Christchurch on Friday.
The Waratahs had overturned a 6-0 halftime deficit to snatch a 7-6 lead when number eight Wycliff Palu crashed over early in the second term.
But the Crusaders, unbeaten after six rounds and leading the competition standings, hit back in brilliant fashion, scoring four converted tries in the last 24 minutes to secure the win and a bonus point.
Centre Casey Laulala ignited the recovery when he retrieved a high bomb from Tim Bateman before loose forward Mose Tuiali’i and prop Wyatt Crockett scored from close-range.
Fullback Scott Hamilton wrapped up the bonus point off the last play of the match when he scored off a pinpoint cross field kick from Daniel Carter, who finished the match with 14 points after landing four conversions and two first half penalties.
“When we put our heads down and ground them down, space opened up after that,” Canterbury scrumhalf Andy Ellis said in a televised interview.
“We toiled really hard in the first half, they’ve got some really strong ball runners and it really took it out of us in the first half.
“It wasn’t quite the flow but the ball was a little bit greasy and we didn’t have the same go-forward that we’d had over the last couple of weeks.”
Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh said his team had let themselves down after briefly taking the lead.
“We tackled our hearts out but they still ended up with four tries,” he said.
“That try after halftime [to Palu] we probably should have consolidated but we couldn’t get any field position and that hurt us in the end.” - Reuters
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