Super Rugby 2020: Crusaders thrash Waratahs in Nelson

Two tries to exciting newcomer Mark Nawaqanitawase wasn't enough for NSW Waratahs, who opened their Super Rugby season with a 43-25 loss to the Crusaders in Nelson.

The three-time defending champion Crusaders had too much class for the Australian side, whose inexperience was exposed on Saturday in their first competition game under new Kiwi coach Rob Penney.

Debuts were handed to five-eighth Will Harrison, who kicked 10 points, but it was winger Nawaqanitawase who grabbed his limited chances with both hands, bagging a second-half double.

With his team trailing 24-6 at halftime, the 19-year-old flyer breathed life into the Waratahs' chances with two tries in the space of three minutes to reduce the margin to six points.

However, the Crusaders found another gear, creating tries for Braydon Ennor, Will Jordan and Luke Romano to seal a victory that suggests they are once again the competition's team to beat.

Despite starting with only three of their World Cup All Blacks, Scott Robertson's team were sharp. They were stronger at scrum and driving play than the visitors and unleashed a number of sweeping attacks.

The Waratahs' hopes of ending a 16-year winless drought against the Crusaders in New Zealand wasn't helped by missing 33 tackles and making too many turnovers.

Their only first-half points were twin penalties to Harrison while the Crusaders crossed through outside backs Leicester Fainga'anuku, Jordan and Ennor - the latter pair later finishing with a brace.

The Waratahs were unfortunate not to register a try to their most exciting runner, veteran fullback Kurtley Beale, whose apparent five-pointer was ruled out after replays showed a contentious forward pass earlier in the play from halfback Jake Gordon.

It was Junior Wallaby Nawaqanitawase who breached the red and black defence. He firstly spun past one defender before diving spectacularly in the corner, while the second try was a 60m intercept in which his speed kept Jordan at bay.

Fellow-winger Alex Newsome scored a consolation try for the Waratahs, who host the Blues in Newcastle next week.

Crusaders 43 (Braydon Ennor 2, Will Jordan 2, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Luke Romano tries David Havili 5 cons pen)

Waratahs 25 (Mark Nawaqanitawase 2, Alex Newsome tries Will Harrison 2 cons 2 pens)