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Crusaders dismiss Waratahs in Christchurch

NZN 20/05/2016

Crusaders halves Richie Mo'unga and Andy Ellis had nights to savour in a classy 29-10 win over the Waratahs which leaves them on top of the Super Rugby standings.

The home side defied cold, wet conditions in Christchurch to score four tries to two and maintain their 12-year unbeaten home run against the New South Welshmen.

It took a late try from Waratahs replacement winger Zac Guildford - a former Crusader - to deny them a winning bonus point but there were plenty of positives in their ninth win from 11 games.

Last week's loss to the Highlanders was cast aside as the All Blacks-laden Crusaders pack took command of the set piece.

It established the platform for halfback Andy Ellis, in his 150th game, and first five-eighth Mo'unga to control proceedings.

Mo'unga scored a try, set up brilliantly by Ellis, and was accomplished in general play in his best performance of the season. His 14 points also lifts him to the top of the competition point-scoring list with the rest of round 13 still to play.

The Waratahs suffered a fifth loss but are guaranteed to stay top of the Australian conference as the second-placed Brumbies have a bye.

They failed to match the physicality of the Crusaders, nor their attacking fluency, in a result which ends a four-game winning streak.

Among the Crusaders' best was winger Johnny McNicholl, who finished a majestic team try in the third minute and claimed a cross kick to set up fullback Israel Dagg soon afterwards.

McNicholl had a spectacular try ruled out soon afterwards but Mo'unga pushed his team 15-0 clear inside the opening quarter with a penalty.

Waratahs winger Rob Horne capitalised on a sizzling Israel Folau break to cross but Mo'unga had the final say of the first half when dashing onto Ellis's short pass.

Errors were more prevalent in the second half, with flanker Jordan Taufua busting across for the Crusaders' only additional try in the 61st minute before Guildford made his statement off the reserve bench.

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