Hurricanes blow Waratahs away
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Waratahs accept they need to take a good, hard look in the mirror after collapsing to a third Super Rugby Pacific defeat from four starts to open the season.
Another eye-catching display from teenage son of a gun Max Jorgensen couldn’t save the Waratahs from a 17-34 loss to the Hurricanes in windy Wellington on Friday.
With destructive, inspirational skipper Ardea Savea on a mission in his return from suspension, the Hurricanes kept the Waratahs scoreless for much of the second half en route to a comfortable home victory.
But 18-year-old Jorgensen certainly couldn’t be blamed for the Tahs’ latest loss, which leaves Darren Coleman’s 2022 quarterfinalists behind the eight-ball early in the race for the play-offs.
Thrust into the fullback hot seat after debuting on the wing, Jorgensen posted his fourth try from as many games with a powerful finish late in the first half to give the Tahs hope after 35-year-old Nemani Nadolo opened the scoring at Wellington Regional Stadium.
But two tries in five minutes from wing Kini Naholo and halfback Cam Roigard and another from veteran All Black hooker Dane Coles left the Waratahs playing catch-up from 22 points down.
Capping an impressive performance, busy No.8 Langi Gleeson bagged a consolation late five-pointer in what would have given new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones more food for thought ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
The Waratahs led early but goalkicking proved the difference at half-time as the Hurricanes went to the sheds leading 17-12.
While Waratahs flyhalf Ben Donaldson managed only one from two difficult shots in the opening 40 minutes, All Blacks superstar Jordie Barrett slotted a penalty and converted both of the Hurricanes’ tries – from Naholo and Roigard, who both ended the match with doubles.
“Look, I thought the effort in our first half was really up there. We probably weren’t clinical enough around our exits, which was was disappointing,” said Waratahs captain Jake Gordon.
“Then in the second half, much of the same.
“Our bench did a great job with two tries putting us back into the game, but definitely not clinical enough.
“Our execution was a little bit off and I think we’re just searching for that 80-minute performance at the moment.
“We’re showing glimpses of good footy, just not enough. We need to focus on ourselves here – individuals, myself included, need to take more ownership especially around the technical side of the game.
“But we have good enough players in this group to turn it around.”
The Waratahs’ road doesn’t get any easier. They host unbeaten table-toppers the Chiefs next week at Allianz Stadium.
Tries: Roigard 2, Naholo 2, Coles
Cons: Barrett 3
Tries: Nadolo, Jorgensen, Gleeson
Hurricanes: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia-Walker Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numua.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Aidan Morgan, 23 Bailyn Sullivan.
Waratahs: 15 Max Jorgensen, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Langi Gleeson, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Charlie Gamble, 5 Taleni Seu, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Mahe Vailanu, 1 Tom Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Daniel Botha, 19 Lachie Swinton, 20 Will Harris, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Tane Edmed, 23 Mosese Tuipulotu.
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey, Marcus Playle
TMO: Glenn Newman