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Crusaders find a happy home

The Crusaders marked the birth of their new home ground at Christchurch Stadium with a hard-fought 28-10 win over the Cheetahs on Saturday.

Having gone into the final 10 minutes with the scores tied at 21-21, the Crusaders twice thought they had scored late tries as Andrew Ellis and Tom Taylor crossed the line, but neither was able to ground the ball to the satisfaction of referee Keith Brown.

But they persevered and Israel Dagg scored the winning try in the 75th minute as the Cheetahs defence was broken down thanks to sustained pressure.

The Waratahs answered their critics in classy fashion, fighting off a strong challenge from the Sharks to emerge 34-30 winners in front of 18,830 fans at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

Two first half tries helped the visitors to a 17-13 lead at the break and they went on to enjoy a handy 24-13 lead after 10 minutes of the second stanza. NSW, who were equally as entertaining, refused to give in though and fought their way back into the contest through tries from full-back Bernard Foley in the 53rd minute and centre Tom Carter in the 57th.

But a Patrick Lambie penalty goal with eight minutes to go put the visitors back in front at 30-27, before young NSW winger Tom Kingston crossed for the match-winner with just five minutes remaining.

The Brumbies ended the Highlanders' unbeaten start to the season with an entertaining 33-26 win in their clash at Canberra Stadium.

After the Brumbies pinched an early lead, the Highlanders worked their way into the match and were level late in the opening half. But their chances were hit by cruel injuries with the loss of substitute back rower Nick Crosswell only minutes after taking the field, while star flyhalf Colin Slade was taken off in an ambulance with a serious ankle fracture.

Then with 15 minutes left the Brumbies scored a lucky but significant try. After both sides knocked on within seconds, Stephen Moore toed the ball ahead and Michael Hooper picked it up under pressure and won the race to the line.

Zane Kirchner scored two tries and Wynand Olivier, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques Potgieter, Jano Vermaak, CJ Stander, JJ Engelbrecht and Bjorn Basson also crossed as Blues returned to winning ways with a 61-8 win over Reds. And later, the Stormers held off a brave fightback from the Lions to win 24-19 in Johannesburg.

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