Waratahs fans will forever think of the Crusaders as their 2014 Super Rugby final victims as the Sydneysiders carried off their maiden title with a thrilling 33-32 victory at ANZ Stadium.
But the rivalry with the Crusaders has largely been an unhappy one for the ’Tahs, who have won just four of 21 games against the South Island heavyweights.
An indelible low point was the teams’ clash in the final round of 2002. The Crusaders romped to a 96-19 win, with Caleb Ralph scoring four of the home side’s 14 tries, and Andrew Mehrtens incredibly slotted 13 from 14 conversions.
The Crusaders’ 96 points remains the highest tally in Super Rugby history, while Mehrtens’ 13 conversions and Ralph’s four tries (shared with 13 other players) are still unsurpassed in the record books.
The Waratahs qualified for the semis despite the capitulation, but were crushed 51-10 at home by the Brumbies, who subsequently lost the final to the star-studded Crusaders 31-13.
The Waratahs will be hoping for a more favourable result when they host the unbeaten Christchurch-based outfit at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Opposing coaches Daryl Gibson and Scott Robertson were Crusaders teammates in the rout 15 years ago, both scoring tries.