DEAN LEWINS AAP

Crusaders’ season over after loss to Waratahs

IT hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the Waratahs this season, but a thrilling 32-22 win over the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium has put the team on top of the Australian conference.

It also meant the Crusaders' finals hopes have gone up in flames - the proud franchise to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

The seven-time champions are in ninth place with three rounds remaining.

A brace to Taqele Naiyaravoro and tries to Rob Horne (pictured) and Bernard Foley gave the 'Tahs their first four-try bonus point at home this year.

They will look to consolidate their position during their coming road trip to South Africa, where they will take on the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning, and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on June 6.

The Lions will be no pushover after they thrashed the Cheetahs 40-17 to move to second on the South African conference.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes continued to run away from the rest of the pack at the top of the overall standings with a 29-5 win over the Blues at Eden Park. The Hurricanes are on 57 competition points - their closest rival is the Chiefs (44).

The Western Force remains pegged to the bottom of the table after a 23-3 loss to the Highlanders in Perth.

Saturday night's results: Hurricanes 29 (C Eves, T Perenara, D Coles, N Milner-Skudder tries; O Black 3 cons, pen) Blues 5 (M Vaega try) at Eden Park; Waratahs 32 (T Naiyaravoro 2, R Horne, B Foley tries; B Foley 3 cons, 2 pens) Crusaders 22 (N Nadolo, R McCaw, M Todd tries; D Carter 2 cons, pen) at ANZ Stadium; Highlanders 23 (J Hardie, A Smith tries; L Sopoaga, M Banks cons; L Sopoaga 2 pens, field goal) Force 3 (S Ebersohn pen) at nib Stadium; Lions 40 (J Kriel, L Mapoe, C Skosan, F de Klerk tries, E Jantjies 4 cons, 4 pens) Cheetahs 17 (B Prinsloo 2 tries; C van Wyk 2 cons, pen) at Bloemfontein; Stormers 31 (D Leyds 2, D de Allende tries; D Catrakilis 2 cons, 4 pens) Rebels 15 (D Shipperley, T English tries; M Harris con, J Debreczeni pen) in Cape Town.


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