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Crusaders beat Waratahs
Robbie Fruean scored a try in each half to fire the Crusaders to a 37-33 away win over the Waratahs.
A rampaging Robbie Fruean scored a try in each half to fire the Canterbury Crusaders to a 37-33 away win over the New South Wales Waratahs in their Super Rugby match in Sydney on Sunday.
The dashing outside centre with a mohawk hairstyle also set up a third as the Crusaders ratcheted up the pressure in the second half then fended off a late fightback to secure their sixth win of the season.
Replacement Sarel Pretorius scored a 74th minute try which Berrick Barnes converted to bring the Waratahs within four points, but the Crusaders held firm in the closing minutes to strengthen their bid for a wildcard berth in the playoffs.
"Really stoked to come away with a win there. Really tough game," Crusaders number eight Kieran Read said in a pitchside interview. "Both teams showed their intent early (but) it was just nice to come away with a win."
The Crusaders also welcomed back New Zealand's World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw from a prolonged foot injury, the 31-year-old loose forward coming on as a replacement early in the second half.
The visitors had the best of the first half but only took a 14-13 lead into the break after conceding the match's first try to winger Atieli Pakalani from a botched line-out.
The hosts quickly spread the ball wide where Barnes fed a straight-running Adam Ashley-Cooper, who broke through the Crusaders line and dished off to Pakalani to cross at the right corner.
Fruean stole the momentum six minutes later when he burst through a pack of players, then bamboozled a clutch of defenders before crossing beneath the posts.
The outside centre then dashed down the left touch-line in the 34th minute and though held up by Barnes in the last line of defence, managed to off-load to winger Zac Guildford, who crossed for the Crusaders' second.
Number eight Wycliff Palu briefly gave the Waratahs the lead six minutes after the break when he scooped up a ball that popped out of a rolling maul and thundered over the line.
But Adam Whitlock snatched the lead back minutes later with a try before Fruean capped a virtuoso display with his second in the 54th minute.
An All Blacks-laden chain of passes from Israel Dagg and Guildford ended with the dynamic midfielder, who shrugged off a limp tackle from inside centre Tom Carter on the left touch-line and charged over the line in another play certain to draw the attention of New Zealand's national selectors.
Taylor's conversion made it 34-23 and though Pretorius's late try buoyed the crowd of 30,000, the Crusaders won a late scrum to seal the match and consign the Waratahs to their fifth loss of the season.