Crusaders edge 'Tahs in epic comeback
The win puts the Crusaders back on top of the New Zealand conference and extends New Zealand's winning streak over Australian sides to 39 matches.
Trailing 19-29 at the break, the Super Rugby champions added try and a penalty try, to secure a win.
The Waratahs were impressive from the outset. Their splendid start made sure they scored four tries for an impressive 29-0 lead after just 30 minutes of play.
However, 10 minutes before the break, the Crusdaer regroup. They finally troubled the visitors' defence with constant off-loading and wide passes.
And were rewarded with tries to Joe Moody on his return to the side from a long injury lay-off and Codie Taylor before Whitelock rolled the dice with time up on the clock in the first half.
Instead of taking a certain three points at the end of the first half, Whitelock decided to chase another try and it paid off when Tamanivalu burst through the defence of Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale to make it 19-29 at the break.
To compound matters for the Waratahs, halfback Nick Phipps was yellow-carded late in the half.
In the second half, Waratahs wing Taqele Naiyaravoro was given a yellow card, the Crusaders made the most of the advantage by putting wing Braydon Ennor over for his first Super Rugby try.
A penalty try from a five-metre came shortly after for the Crusaders to take the 31-29 lead and the Waratahs were left to play a frantic game of catch up.
In the 75th minute, Bernard Foley had the chance to take the lead back for the Waratahs but shanked a 45-metre penalty and there was to be no change to the score as the Crusaders defence held firm.
Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said it was obvious their opening game plan did not work and they were not panicked by the Waratahs' strong start.
"We gave them the ball back early and they really punished us because of it. Once we chopped that it started to turn in our favour," Whitelock said.
"But we were nice and calm out there. We stuck to what we knew would work and came over the top at the end."
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said his side had only themselves to blame.
"Probably our discipline hurt us. Two yellow cards. It's hard to beat these guys with 14 men," he said.
The Crusaders, who have not lost at home to the Waratahs since 2004, extended New Zealand's winning streak over Australian sides to 39 matches.
Man of the match: Waratahs Isreal Folau added value with his carries while the two wings two wings Cameron Clark and Taqele Naiyaravoro were impressive on attack. Crusaders No.8 Jordan Taufua strong carries proved instrumental for his side's comeback. However, for his impressive runs from his own 22, our award goes to Crusaders fullback George Bridge.
Tries: Moody, Taylor, Tamanivalu, Ennor, Penalty Try
Cons: Mo’unga 2
Tries: Clark, Naiyaravoro, Folau, Rona
Cons: Foley 3
Yellow cards: Nick Phipps (Waratahs, 40 – repeat infringements), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs, 52 – Deliberate knock-on)
Crusaders: 15 George Bridge, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)
Source: @Allblacks & AFP