Super Rugby final match report: Adam Ashley-Cooper inspires Waratahs to first ever title in thrilling last-minute win over Crusaders

Bernard Foley's late penalty saw the New South Wales outfit secure a nail-biting 33-32 win over the New Zealander's

Centres Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale inspired the Waratahs to victory over the Crusaders in a thrilling Super Rugby final.

A blazing start brought 14 unanswered points in the first 15 minutes for the Waratahs, who enjoyed home advantage in Sydney.

They were pegged back but Ashley-Cooper's second try and Bernard Foley's late penalty earned a 33-32 win.

Foley kicked 23 points while Beale provided the creative spark for the minor premiers. Matt Todd and Nemani Nedolo crossed for the Crusaders and Colin Slade kicked 20 points after assuming the duties from the injured Dan Carter.

Foley slotted the Waratahs in front following a ruck infringement and they scored the game's opening try just four minutes in.

Beale's miss pass to Foley opened up the space and when the ball was worked back across, it was Beale again who sent his midfield partner Ashley-Cooper crashing over.

Foley missed the conversion but kicked two penalties to reward his side's early dominance, with the Tahs enjoying 75 per cent possession in the first quarter-hour.

The Crusaders finally got into the game when, after Nadolo was stopped on the left wing, they regrouped down the right and Kieran Read off-loaded for flanker Todd to burst over from 30 metres.

Carter converted but an ankle injury forced him to hand over to Slade, who responded to Foley's next shot to leave the score at 17-10.

Slade and Foley traded penalties and it was 20-13 at the interval but the lead lasted less than three minutes into the second half.

The rolling Nadolo was adjudged by the television official to have dotted down without putting a toe in touch and Slade's conversion and subsequent penalty put his side ahead for the first time.

Foley levelled but got lucky when his charged-down kick spun safely to team-mate Beale.

Slade landed another penalty and Andy Ellis made a crucial tackle on Nadolo to preserve the lead.

But the Waratahs were not to be denied and after a long spell of probing, Ashley-Cooper took another Beale pass and slipped past Dominic Bird for his second try, converted by Foley.

Wing Rob Horne was unable to gather on the end of a fast but ragged Waratahs move and they were behind once more with four minutes left when an offside gave Slade an easy chance.

But a ruck infringement allowed Foley to slot over from 40 metres and Ashley-Cooper gathered the kick-off to allow his team to chew up the final seconds.

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper addressed ANZ Stadium at the post-match presentation.

"First I want to thank the Crusaders," he said. "It was a tough game and great to get them in the final.

"To the New South Wales Waratahs, congratulations! How good, boys? How good?"

Opposite number Kieran Read said: "We came across looking for the win and we're just really disappointed for our fans.

"It shows how good this Waratahs team are and to give them the start we did, it's hard to run them down.

"We came back into it, a lesser team wouldn't have been able to do that, but congratulations to them."

PA

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas