Waratahs down Crusaders in trial
January 27, 2007

A star turn from Josh Holmes and Kurtley Beale two minutes from full time has seen the HSBC Waratahs score a come from behind 17-12 victory over the Crusaders in the Rotomahana Challenge at Aussie Stadium.

Beale handed his halves partner an unimpeded run to the line after beating the tiring Crusaders defence with a neat right foot step, the 18 year-old sprinting 30 metres before passing to Holmes for the try.

Beale then converted to make it 17-12 in favour of the Waratahs.

Up until then the Crusaders appeared to have the match under control, with a 59th minute try to Andrew Ellis - which also came about as a result of poor defending - seeing them out to a 12-10 lead, which they securely held for the bulk of the remaining 21 minutes of the match.

The Waratahs were first on the board with Peter Hewat kicking a penalty goal in the ninth minute of play.

However it was the Crusaders that had the run of play, with only poor handling and some stout Waratahs defence keeping them at bay.

With a light drizzle falling handling was an issue for both teams, with neither able to fully grasp the conditions in the first half.

Five minutes from half time it appeared the Crusaders would take the lead into the break, with flanker Keiran Reid making the most of a dropped ball to scoot down the blindside for the first try of the match.

Brent Ward's sideline conversion attempt failed to make it to the 22 however the visitors had the lead at 5-3.

There it appeared set to stay until the Waratahs - having gained the ball from a turnover inside their own 22 - launched a bold counter attacking raid that netted them their opening try.

Tryscorer Sam Norton-Knight handled first and last in a movement that covered over eighty metres, handing off to flanker and man of the match Beau Robinson who made it to the ten metre line before passing to a flying Peter Hewat.

Hewat was pulled down five metres short of the line however he got a pass to Norton-Knight who finished off in style, scoring under the posts.

Daniel Halangahu's conversion made it 10-5 at half time in favour of the home side.

A raft of half time changes introduced Beale into the match who, after a couple of promising runs and some rough treatment in defence, helped to swing the match back in his side's favour two minutes from time.

The win squared the Rotomahana Challenge ledger for the Waratahs - who lost last year's inaugural match by two points - with skipper Norton-Knight a worthy recipient of the trophy after full time.

The HSBC Waratahs next match is against the Lions in Johannesburg in nine days time - the opener to the Super 14 season.

Tries: Sam Norton-Knight, Josh Holmes
Conversions: Daniel Halangahu (1/1), Kurtley Beale (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Peter Hewat (1/1)

Tries: Keiran Reid, Andrew Ellis
Conversions: Stephen Brett (1/1), Brent Ward (0/1)

Aussie Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Matt Goddard
Crowd: 13,558
Man of the Match: Beau Robinson (Waratahs)

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