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Mako steal the show in Crusaders super rugby opener

It was a home game in more ways than one for the Crusaders as they opened their Super Rugby campaign in Nelson. 

While they may have been wearing Crusaders jerseys, it was some of Tasman's local heroes who stole the show at Trafalgar Park on Saturday night. 

Tasman stars Will Jordan, Leicester Faingaanuku, and David Havili contributed more than half of the home team's points in their 43-25 victory over the New South Wales Waratahs. 

Jordan bagged a brace of tries and Havili (who was awarded the man of the match) notched up 13 points off the tee, but Faingaanuku may have provided the moment of the match.

Collecting a cross-kick at halfway on the left-hand touchline, the winger bumped off three defenders and outran the cover defence to score the try of the match. 

Tasman Rugby Union spokesman Les Edwards said there had been a 7000-strong crowd in attendance.

7000 fans decked out in red and black came to support the Crusaders in their only match of the year in Nelson.
LUZ ZUNIGA/STUFF
7000 fans decked out in red and black came to support the Crusaders in their only match of the year in Nelson.

"There was a bit going on, the long weekend, speedway, drag racing – so I thought we did well for the time of the year.

"The crowd were great, they got right in behind this match. Both [Jordan] and [Faingaanuku] were throwing up fins when they scored, so they were playing to the home crowd." 

Edwards said he was confident Nelson would continue to be a destination for the Crusaders in the future. 

"The Crusaders management enjoyed being here, the Tasman Rugby Union are proud to have them here, so we'd love to have them back." 

The Crusader horses, dressed in the colours of the franchise's different provincial regions, made the trip north for the Nelson fixture.
LUZ ZUNIGA/STUFF
The Crusader horses, dressed in the colours of the franchise's different provincial regions, made the trip north for the Nelson fixture.

It was also a well-behaved crowd at the game – with no reports by police of arrests or disorderly behaviour. 

The match also doubled as a fundraiser for the Australian bushfire relief, with both teams pitching in $1000 to Rural Aid's Disaster Recovery Fund, for each try their team scored.

A total of $9000 was raised, with the Crusaders scoring six tries and the Waratahs three. 

Crusaders captain Scott Barrett also joined his Waratahs counterpart Rob Simmons in donating his playing jersey from the match, with both jerseys signed by the players and auctioned off for charity. 

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