Tahs calmly beat the Reds
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Waratahs fuelled with Wallabies recorded a 28-17 win over the Reds on Saturday in Sydney.
The Waratahs and Reds scored three tries apiece, however it was the calm boot Bernard Foley which made the difference in in front of a disappointing crowd of 15 681 on hand for the conference derby.
The Wallabies flyhalf contributed 13 points to his team’s tally, while his opposition the young Reds’ flyhalf Bryce Hegarty could only managed to add two points.
With names like Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, and Karmichael Hunt one would expect a little bit more creativity. On the contrary, it was a stale affair with the hosts opting for their usual kicking game steered by flyhalf Foley.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Waratahs grind out a 28-17 victory over their arch rivals.
Waratahs’ Ned Hanigan got the first try of the match from a lineout setpiece soon after Queensland’s JP Smith was sin-binned for an infringement.
Reds skipper Samu Kerevi kept his team in the hunt, picking up a loose ball to catch the Waratahs napping as he powered over the line and Chris Feauai-Sautia got another try soon before half-time, to go into the break 12-16 behind.
But a long-range try by Curtis Rona, who ran almost from his own half, a minute after the restart extended the Waratahs lead.
Sefanaia Naivalu pulled one back to narrow the score to 21-17 with 14 minutes left before Tahs’ substitute Alex Newsome burst through soon after coming on to put the game beyond doubt.
Curators were almost as busy as the players. Shovels in hand, repairmen were called on after every scrum to restore the shredded SCG surface.
At one point late on, four groundsmen were required to repair a series of gaping holes that would likely leave the Sydney Swans seething ahead of their looming start to the 2019 AFL season.
NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson would not have been impressed either.
Pre-season, Gibson nominated defence as the Waratahs’ biggest concern after last year’s semi-finalists conceded almost 70 tries in 2018 and it remained an issue early in the new season.
Even after the appointment of new defence coach in Welshman Steve Tandy, the Waratahs are being breached too easily to be considered genuine title contenders.
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper was happy to escape with the four competition points.
“We haven’t really hit our straps yet in attack but we ran some really nice plays there tonight out of our own end,” Hooper said.
“I was pleased how we played to the end. That try at the end was a testament to our work rate – really pleased with that win.”
The Waratahs’ victory was their second from three outings this campaign and consigned the Reds to a worrying none-from-three start.
The Waratahs head to Canberra next week to play the Brumbies, with the Reds off to Tokyo for a must-win clash with the Sunwolves.
Man of the match: It was certainly a dire affair as none of the players really produced what was expected from them. Adam Ashley-Cooper had some good touches while Reds’ captain Samu Kerevi was one of the standouts in his team. But none really stamped their authority on the match. Our nod goes to Bernard Foley, for his game management.
Tries: Hanigan, Newsome, Rona
Cons: Foley 2
Pens: Foley 3
Tries: Kerevi, Feauai-Sautia, Naivalu
Yellow card: Jean-Pierre Smith (Reds, 19 – Repeat infringement)
As it happened: Waratahs v Reds
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Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Lachlan Swinton, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Alex Newsome
Reds: 15 Isaac Lucas, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi (c), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Caleb Timu, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jack Hardy
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)