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Super 15 Rugby 2014 Final Results: Waratahs vs. Crusaders Score and Report

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 02: Waratahs players celebrate victory at the end of the Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Waratahs and the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2014

New South Wales Waratahs claimed a thrilling 33-32 victory over the Crusaders in Sydney on Saturday in the 2014 Super 15 final to claim the title.

After cruising into a healthy early lead in the first half at the ANZ stadium, they were pegged back by a resurgent Crusaders side and looked to be heading for a narrow loss.

But a brave Bernard Foley penalty in the dying moments handed the Waratahs victory in a breathtaking matchup.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 02:  Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Waratahs scores a try during the Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Waratahs and the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Mark Nolan/Getty Images

The Waratahs bagged the first try of the game through Adam Ashley-Cooper after five minutes with a fantastic sequence of passes stretching the Crusaders out to let the Australian international through to make it 8-0.

Another couple of early penalties—slotted by Foley—saw the New South Wales outfit extend their lead to 14-0 with just a quarter of an hour gone.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 02:  Dan Carter of the Crusaders leaves the field injured during the Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Waratahs and the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Matt King/Getty Images

However, the Crusaders belatedly got themselves into the game with flanker Matt Todd scoring on the counter-attack, with Dan Carter inevitably bagging the conversion to take them back within a score.

Carter was forced off through injury later in the half after being hit by a two-man tackle, a huge blow, per the Crusaders' official Twitter page:

Further conceded penalties punished the Kiwi side and half-time saw the Waratahs leading 20-13, although Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw still had confidence in his side, per Matt Manukia on TVNZ:

We just let them get across the advantage on attack and it's making it tough. But we're still in the game and we've got to start pretty well (in the second half) and stay at the right end of the field.

Indeed, winger Nemani Nadolo tied things up at 20-20 just minutes after the restart as he hauled Alofa Alofa and Kurtley Beale over the line in the corner, for a score confirmed by the video referee.

They took the lead for the first time through a Colin Slade penalty but were down 30-26 with under 20 minutes remaining when Ashley-Cooper scored a second try, which was set up by Beale.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 02: Richie McCaw of the Crusaders collects the ball during the Super Rugby Grand Final match between the Waratahs and the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

However, the Crusaders claimed two penalties in the late stages and took a two-point lead with just four minutes remaining and looked set to take the win 32-30.

There was to be one more twist in the tale, with the great McCaw giving away a penalty about 45 yards out before Foley squeezed the kick over for the most dramatic of single-point victories.

It is the Waratahs' first ever Super Rugby title victory having lost two previous finals to the Crusaders and topped a season in which they were the best team throughout.  

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