Super Rugby champions the Crusaders proved their class with an opening win over the Waratahs.
Crowned champions back in July, the Crusaders looked every bit the team to beat in a dominant 43-25 triumph in their opening outing at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.
Will Jordan crossed in the 16th minute before Braydon Ennor and Leicester Fainga'anuku ran in tries to establish a 24-6 half-time advantage for the hosts.
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However, teenage debutant Mark Nawaqanitawase scored a quickfire double - the second from an intercept - to give the Waratahs fleeting thoughts of a second-half fightback, but Ennor, Jordan and Luke Romano touched down to extinguish those hopes.
Nawaqanitawase's first finish was sublime as he shrugged off the attempted tackle of Will Jordan before powering over with three defenders on him.
The finish is truly superb!
Nawaqanitawase is regarded more as fullback in Australia and his ability has been compared to that of Israel Folau.
Two tries on his debut could just be the start of a brilliant career. Here is his second, an excellent intercept.
He even outpaces the highly rated, Will Jordan who is no slouch.
It’s been a meteoric rise to the brink of Super Rugby for the Burwood-raised Nawaqanitawase.
Nawaqanitawase joined the Junior Wallabies quite late in the fold, with his Fijian Father encouraging him into Rugby, Mark linked up with the NSW Generation Blue program in 2019 and since rapidly climbed the ranks. In May 2019, he was named in the Junior Wallabies squad for the World Rugby U20s Championship.
After missing out on all representative honours during school, Mark was scouted by Gen Blue coach Shannon Fraser, who called the then year 12 student and asked him to come in for a trial with the academy.
Just six months later he was scoring tries for fun on the wing for the Junior Wallabies on their way to the final of the 2019 Under 20s World Cup, and more excellent form for NSW Country in the NRC led to Nawaqanitawase landing his first contract with Waratahs.