Force V Waratahs Review- Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Force V Waratahs Review-

Force V Waratahs Review-

We are on the Gold Coast for the displaced Western Force to host the NSW Waratahs at CBUS Super Stadium. The Force are coming off the bye while the Waratahs will be looking to maintain the momentum created by their whacking of the Queensland Reds last week. The Force have been hamstrung by being away from home for several weeks and will be looking for an eighty minute performance to notch their first win in Super RugbyAU. With a late change for the Force with the removal of Nick Frisby from the bench for Jacob Abel, let’s take a look at proceedings.

Credit Stephen Tremain

Credit Stephen Tremain


Both teams spent the first portion of the game mostly in the middle third of the field, with strong defence limiting any real gains over the advantage line. A ruck penalty gave the Waratahs their first scoring opportunity and as has been the pattern under Rob Penney they opted to take the three. Will Harrsion made no mistake from 42m and it was 3-0 Tahs after 8 minutes.

The Waratahs defence was excellent through the first fiften minutes with the Force having an almighty battle to make ground in the middle. They were however finding some space on the flanks, and this is where they struck. Richard Kahui spied a gap and placed a super delicate kick down the left sideline and big Bryn Stander tapdanced his way down the line to dive on the ball and put the Force up 5-3 after Prior missed the tough conversion.

Force ill-discipline kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Waratahs. Harrison slotted another penalty and we are at the quarter point of the game with the Tahs holding a 6-5 edge. The curse of all Super RugbyAU games thus far- the dodgy lineouts dogged both teams through the first half, managing to blunt a number of attacking opportunities. The Force were able to kick a penalty of their own, clearly learning that the transition from GRR back to Super Rugby is more about scoreboard pressure than blowing teams off the park. 8-6 Force with ten to go before the break.

The Force were having some difficulty with their scrum on the tighthead side, Kieran Longbottom feeling the wrath of the referee a couple of times, the second leading to another Harrison penalty from 40m out. They then scored their first try of the half after a Jono Lance dropped ball  in his own half led to a Wartahs counter, Jake Gordon nearly going over in the middle before some quick recognition saw the ball spun wide left for Alex Newsome to dive over untouched. A fantastic conversion from Harrison saw the Tahs skip out to a 16-8 lead. This was how it stayed until half time but the Tahs had a chance to extend it only to be held up over the line.

Soon after the break the Waratahs were in again, an out of sorts Jono Lance looked to throw one his trademark flat balls which was gobbled up by Jack Maddocks who ran 50m to score. The conversion made it 23-8 and it was fast becoming a case of hoping something can turn the game around for the Force.

The Force weren’t giving up without a fight and began to boss the scrums and hold onto the ball, earning a penalty 5m out which they took the scrum option. After earning a penalty again off that scrum they went again, earning yet another penalty. Another penalty for not releasing and you had to wonder how long the Tahs would get away with it. The Force went the scrum option again and this time the Waratahs earnt the penalty and escaped danger for the time being.

With 20 minutes to go the Force were starting to really throw the ball around in an attempt to claw back the margin, sort of reverting to the type of footy they played in the NRC and GRR. Godwin and Ralston were starting to see a bit of ball and looking dangerous,, but the Tahs nearly struck again with Maddocks running a gorgeous line off a Hooper ball to go under, only for it to be called back for forward.

As the clock wound down the Force were at sixes and sevens trying to create something and not really getting anywhere while the Waratahs were quite happy to take time off the clock and make the Force play out of their own half by kicking it down their throat. The Force escaped again when a simply beautiful little chip from Harrison was scooped up by Karmichael Hunt who passed to Jake Gordon who was ruled offside from the kick.

The final salt in the wound came almost on fulltime as pressure near the line told and allowed Harry Johnson-Holmes to burrow over.

It ended 28-8 and without sounding like a broken record, the Force should be proud of the result. They didn’t give up and continued to push in attack and work hard in defence the entire game. The lineout let them down badly tonight and with maybe one or two moments in the game it could have been different. Credit also to the Waratahs who found a different way to win this week to last week. They took their chances and controlled the possession and the game and never really let the Force into the game


Lineout woes galore again

Lineout woes galore again




The Newsome try just before the break put a gap between the two teams and then there seemed to be a visible deflation in the Force squad. Another line out turnover led to sustained pressure that the Force were luck to escape further damage from, only inches in a held up being the difference,


If this question had been posed after fifteen minutes I would have nominated Richard Kahui, he was in everything with booming clearing kicks and the delicate grubber for the try, but he was really bottled up after that. So after that explanation the MOTM goes to Will Harrison. He is clearly a rare talent and his game management was excellent tonight. The way his goalkicking is so reliable that he just adds to extra scoreboard pressure is an element that has been missing from Australian rugby for years. Whether that pressure principle has been over ridden by coaches or not, you can certainly see why it is back in style under Rob Penney.



While kicking penalties as opposed to scoring tries is probably not going to win many fans or viewers it does win games, and the metronomic boot of Will Harrison is a great asset to the Tahs and a worthy contender for the discussion at 10. It doesn’t hurt that the rest of his game is solid as well and he looks calm and unflappable in most situations. Jake Gordon has to be in the mix after his great effort last week against the Reds and again tonight looked strong, and as we all know the 9-10 combination can be vital. Jack Maddocks was on his game tonight and could easily slip into a squad as wing/fullback cover or indeed as starting 15.

For the Force Byron Ralston was quiet, a lack of ball hampering his input. Kyle Godwin was good but probably overshadowed by Kahui inside him. Most of the best performers for the Force tonight were from their foreign contingent, while anyone looking for a hooker to throw a consistent lineout should probably look elsewhere.



Force –  

Tries: Stander
Conv:                Pens: Prior



Tries: Newsome, Maddocks, Johnson-Holmes
Conv: Harrison     2         Pens: Harrison 3




  • Hoss

    One might even suggest it was the rugby equivalent of Darwinism. An evolved higher organism toying with its biological and geographical ancestor.

    • Nick Berry?

      • Hoss

        But harsh, he did his best to keep the score respectable for the team from west somewhere. Offside and obstruction my arse. 44-8 would seem about right.

        • Some “interesting calls” to be sure.

        • Hoss

          I would say Godwin was very classy, that Samoan loosie for the Western Reds is terrific, but apparently capped already, the young fullback on debut was very assured and looks a real find. Lance though seems on a different wave length, he’s not playing bad, but him and his backs seem slightly off-kilter. Three years in the wilderness and not much of a pre-season will do that to any team. Kahui turned the clock back too. Him v Hunt was terrific. Two old bulls refusing to lie down.

        • Enjoyed it, end result about what I expected.
          I thought Berry was poor, ignored too much in the name of flow, then made a couple of howlers to balance it.
          Tahs looking good, drunk yet?

        • Hoss

          Thought Berry started well and the first 15-20 was well handled. Scrums were a lottery, but I thought Longbottom, which is Celtic for ‘been in a good paddock’ – he looks like he eats as though he has two arses, bore in all nite. Happy to admit scrums are very subjective though, but as an old 8 I figure when his arse is constantly pointing at the grandstand some dark arts are afoot. Had to stay sober as the little guys picked up a bug and I was on bucket duty. Said to Mrs Hoss be easier to put em in the barn surrounded by hay, but no, we have to moddle-coddle them, bloody DOCS.

        • Scrums always a lottery, more an issue around rucks to me… Like the way NZ refs have been handling it this year, makes for a much cleaner,faster paced game.
          Made no diff to the win/loss though, all we can ask for really.
          Hope the young fella cheers up for ya, Bourbon fixes most bugs, but they frown on that too.

        • Spot on as to scrums. Force on attack in the Red Zone. Get three penalties in a row. Take the scrum and each time the Warathas offend. Penalty try? No say the ref, let’s go again and ‘SUPPOSEDLY’ the Force, take it down. Good conjob by the Warathas.

        • Hoss

          Yep, probably cost you the game too. Your line out was great and your 9/10 electric. The better team clearly was robbed. And how dare an opposing prop pack straight to prevent the ‘boring in’ on his hooker. This has Clynes finger prints all over it.

        • Moz

          Now now Hoss, don’t be like that. Let us bitch a little.

        • Ads

          Bastard cost us the bonus point!!!

        • Hoss

          Bet you he is a Queenslander.

        • Timbo

          Berry? Of course he is. Played for the Reds. But you knew that.
          49% of the scrums in SRA have ended in a short arm or long arm. Less a lottery and more of a coin flip.

        • Hoss

          Early on he played the scrum when ball was at the back and made the teams play it. Kearnsy actually references how scrums in general in SRA are too low now and he has a point. Props legs further back and a lot more collapses. Maybe Nutta can talk us through it more than me. I was an 8, bludging at the back. I really wanted to be a 13 but was too smart and not enough hair.

        • Hoss

          Yep, the only way Reddy gets to Maddocks is if Maddocks has three cheeseburgers, large fries and an American champagne hangin off his shirt. Give me a break.

    • idiot savant

      Descendants of Thrush?

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahaha congratulations mate. They played well

  • UTG

    Good showing from the Tahs, we’ll know more after next week about finals/title contention but look starting to look like they could be a shot.

    • Hoss

      They make the three and anything could happen. A bit more belief and nothing to lose and they will be dangerous. Bonus point tonight and Reds victory tomorrow would make it a real logjam at the top.

      • UTG

        I have to take my hat off to Penney and Gilmore, coming into the Aus comp I thought the Tahs were a real motley crew who would struggle to avoid the spoon but they look extremely well-organised. I’d be pretty content if they put in two more good showings but still miss the finals.

        • Hoss

          Yep. Gilmore in particular. Look at our D in the regular season, it leaked like a Liberal Caucus, but now it’s a thing of beauty and with sting. Penney’s greatest attribute seems his willingness to grow the team and invest in them, which in turn grows the players talent, experience bank, belief in themselves and results – and absolutely the culture. Compare that to Gibson’s treatment of poor Mack Mason in what was a losing season from midway through the year and he still couldn’t get a game, bar the Sunwolves and even then that that was due to ‘rotation policy’ then he got hung out to dry.

        • UTG

          Yep, I don’t think Gibson was interested in building a team at all. Penney has done wonders introducing youth and instilling confidence in a side that looks very raw on paper. I also think that Robertson, Dempsey, Simmons, Hanigan, Hooper, and Hunt might not look like world beating senior players (aside from Hooper) but they have really stepped up.

        • Disregarding Robertson and Simmons I agree with you. Hooper is certainly world class, now we need four or five more to make the Wallabies a class team. That said, remember the movie ‘Money Ball’, a champion team will beat a team of champions.

        • UTG

          Don’t underestimate the work of Simmons and Robbo in the setpiece. The Simmons run lineout against the Brumbies should have won the Tahs the game if they’d kept their heads. Robbo has held his own against Tupou and AAA.

          Agree about needing four or five world class Wallabies to make a class team, I think in time Tupou, Naisarani, Petaia, and Wilson will fill those roles.

        • Huw Tindall

          After that Taffy bloke fucked off just before the season and they employed some ex Mungo on a part time contract it’s no wonder the D let in more points than a game of darts. Shambles. It may as well be a different team in AU. Funny what happens when a good coaching groups get a chance to mould a side with talent for days. Don’t forget Matt Cockbain is running the forwards and getting big games out of perennial lightweights like Ned and Simmo.

        • idiot savant

          Yeah great point. Penney looks to really have a handle on development practice. Harrison has had about 10 games straight in the 10 jersey and his progress is there for all to see. Compare to Thorn’s development of Stewart at 10. Never gave him more than 2 consecutive games in 2 seasons and still expects progress.

  • IIPA

    Thought Ralston was still good as was their new fullback. A confident debut.

    Godwin was great but mainly in broken play, there’s just not enough spark in that middle aged 9-10-12. Might be work giving Jack Mac a start at 10.

    Of course they could have the All Blacks backline and wouldn’t matter with the way their lineout went.

    I enjoyed the scrum battle in that second half period where it seemed the Force liked their chance of a pushover but the Tahs came back but by and large scrums were a disgrace.

    That stat that 49% of scrums are ending in penalties or free kicks needs to change. Especially when almost always a team that wins a free kick at the scrum elects for……another scrum. Can we fuck that off so it’s no longer an allowable option?

    • Scrums…where to start.
      At what point does the ref get involved.

      Penalise a perceived boring in at TH, or wait till the opposite prop rolls over just to get the penalty.
      Always a hard place for refs, and answers will vary.
      Maybe make both front rows do 10 pushups every time a scrum collapses, all I can think of that might fix it.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      The Force surely didn’t get the dividends from having the more dominant scrum. The Force failed to adapt and their line-outs were awful. Just need to continue to improve.. good teams can win no matter how the referee officiate or interpret the laws on the day. If you are not getting the calls maybe stop what your doing.

  • Have to say it, but the Warathas (not my team) are looking better and better. Playing now like they did under Michael Chieka – wide, expansive back play with a mobile lightweight forward pack. 50/50 at scrum time but otherwise good.

  • mortlucky

    Let’s talk keeping the ball in:

    CORRECT: Will “Jonty” Harrison’s stunning dive from inside the field of play

    INCORRECT: This growing bullshit trend of jumping from outside the field of play

    • Too Little Too Late

      Visually it looks wrong, but the laws allow you to start from touch and catch the ball and land back in the field
      You must catch the ball and land in the field, no flicking to a teammate or to the ground.
      If you start from in the field you can flick it and not land in the field.

      I agree that it looks odd, but the laws allow it.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        I like this change as it keep the ball alive. If you kick to the corner make sure you get it out.

        • Too Little Too Late

          It’s one of world rugby’s laws not just the Super AU, so we will see some pretty spectacular leaps in time to come.
          I wonder if a jump from an advertising hoarding and back into play will be attempted.

        • At the moment the hoarding is joined to the ground, hence in touch.
          But as you say, who knows what will happen in time to come.

        • Too Little Too Late

          As the law stands you can jump from anywhere in touch and as long as you land in play with the ball you are good to go.

          No mention of trampolines on the sidelines to boost you back into the field of play, so that might be ok, but probably not be in the spirt of the game

        • your dead right, I should learn to read properly

  • Nutta

    Cheers Ben

    Congratulations Tarts. That display showed a lever of maturity I haven’t seen from an Ocker side in a long long time. You refused to ‘play down’ and simply left your opponents behind. Well done.

    I hope the hangover was intense Hoss

NSW Waratahs

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

More in NSW Waratahs