Rugby Union

Waratahs beat Crusaders in thrilling Super Rugby final

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Bernard Foley slotted a final minute penalty to give the Waratahs a thrilling 33-32 win over the Crusaders in the final of Super Rugby.

Their was little doubt that the 2014 showpiece was between the best two sides in the competition, and when you factor in that they had yet to face each other during the 2014 campaign, the prospect of the clash left rugby neutrals with much anticipation ahead of the southern hemisphere's premier club rugby final, and one thing is for sure, it didn't disappoint.

Losing streak

Coming into Saturday's clash, the Waratahs had not only lost to the Crusaders on their two previous visits to the final, but had also lost 11-straight to their New Zealand opponents that had won the tournament on no less than seven-occasions since it began back in 1996.

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With a minute left on the clock and trailing the visitors by two-points, Foley stepped up to slot home the winning kick from 45 meters out and give the Tahs their first Super Rugby title.

Worthy winners

There was nothing in the game which could have gone either way, however few would begrudge the Waratahs their win after recording their 10th home win of the season.

Foley has marshalled the Waratahs team superbly all season and did so again when it mattered most with 23-points, finishing top of the Super Rugby points table with a massive 252 for the season.

On this form it will be difficult for Ewen McKenzie to think any further than Foley at 10 for the Rugby Championship, especially considering outside him will be a number of his team-mates.

First blood Waratahs

Both sides recorded comprehensive semi-final wins however it was the home team that came flying out of the blocks with 14-points in the first 15-minutes, Adam Ashley-Cooper crossing the whitewash and Foley slotting three-penalties.

Not to be outdone, the Crusaders responded with a superb counter-attacking try by Matt Todd.

The Tahs kicked the ball downfield only for Crotty to gather and send Kieran Reid into space before putting away the final pass to Todd who crossed over to get the visitors back in the game.

A brace of penalties from each team ended the half with the home team 20-13 up and 40 minutes away from a first title.


Early in the second half the Crusaders drew level when the enormous Nemani Nadolo crashed over, although there were suggestions that his foot touched the line before he grounded the ball.

Slade and Foley exchanged penalties to leave the game locked at 23-23, setting up a grandstand finish in the final game of the competition.

Slade slotted another three-points following a high tackle to send the visitors into the lead, until the Waratahs launched an attack that went through no less than 12-phases before Ashley-Cooper crossed over for his second score of the game, leaving the Tahs sensing victory at 30-26.

Waratahs hold on to win Super Rugby 2014

Winning kick

With the clock ticking, Slade calmly sent over two more penalties to give the visitors a two-point lead and an eighth Super Rugby title within sight, until Richie McCaw was penalised 45 meters out, just on the fringes of Foley's range.

Foley didn't disappoint as he finished off the Crusaders to give the home side victory.

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