Crusaders extend 100 per cent start with bonus-point win at Waratahs
Crusaders extended their 100 per cent start to the Super Rugby season to six matches with an impressive 41-22 bonus-point victory over Waratahs in Sydney.
Having come from behind to beat Highlanders, Queensland Reds and Blues earlier in the season, Crusaders showed the same form that helped them crush Western Force 45-17 last time out to move above Chiefs to the top of the New Zealand Conference.
Scott Robertson's side surged ahead early on, with George Bridge running in his first Super Rugby try before David Havili broke the Waratahs line to power in the second after 12 minutes.
Michael Hooper crossed with the first opportunity that came the way of the Australian side, but Tim Bateman sent Crusaders into the break with a 19-10 lead.
Bateman's second came in a brilliant counter-attacking move two minutes after the restart and Crusaders sent Wyatt Crockett on from the bench to make a record-equalling 175th Super Rugby appearance, but Waratahs showed immense spirit to fight back.
Jake Gordon carried two men over the line following some neat ball movement off a line-out and three minutes later Taqele Naiyaravoro flattened Bridge before touching down in the corner.
After hitting the right-hand post with a penalty from distance, Mitchell Hunt succeeded at his next attempt to open a seven-point lead and put paid to the Waratahs' comeback.
Bryn Hall finished a fantastic move down the right launched by Manasa Mataele before Ben Funnell crashed in to secure the bonus point with three minutes remaining, as the Australians fell to a fourth defeat of the campaign.