Lions outlast ill-disciplined Waratahs - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Lions outlast ill-disciplined Waratahs

Lions outlast ill-disciplined Waratahs

The Waratahs tour of South Africa began in disappointing fashion with a 27 to 22 defeat to the Lions on Saturday night.

The Match

The Lions began the game with a clear edge in their enthusiasm and physicality. A turnover followed by a
breakout down the left hand side provided the field position which eventually yielded the first try. It was apparent from the first instance that the Lions were willing to chance their arm and would really take some beating.

A penalty goal from their first foray into the Lions 22 kept the Waratahs in touch. When Stephen Hoiles was given the all clear from the TMO after diving over from close range, the Waratahs took the lead 10-7.

Every scrum saw immense pressure being put on the Waratahs pack. Somehow they managed to win their own ball despite going backwards in most scrums. Credit should be given to the Tahs pack and some favourable scrum feeds from Nick Phipps as no one would have expected their scrum to hold out so well as the match wore on after being under constant pressure every time.


The flow of the match changed irrevocably  two-thirds of the way through the first half, when Rob Horne incurred the wrath of referee Jaco Peyper and the TMO for a lifting tackle on Lionel Mapoe after he’d passed the ball. Horne was shown a yellow card and life got tough for the Waratahs. A Lions penalty goal was quickly followed by Ruan Combrinck’s second try and the Lions took a 17-10 lead into halftime.

Something must have been wrong with the half time oranges because the start of the second half was a disaster for the Waratahs. An early penalty goal and the lead was out to double figures before the Waratahs again kept the TMO in business with a late shot from Jacques Potgieter the subject of a review. His late tackle was compounded by pulling out of the tackle and instead hitting the player with his shoulder. A yellow card and a second stint with 14 players ensued for the Waratahs. When Harold Vorster scored the Lions’ third try it looked like game over for the Waratahs.

A try to Adam Ashley-Cooper whilst down a man was quickly followed up by another to Rob Horne who scored in the corner to help make amends for his first half indiscretion. After Bernard Foley converted the second one the margin was cut to five and it was now anyone’s game with more than 20 minutes to go.

Whilst they had a few ventures into the Lions’ red zone, the Waratahs made too many errors in the final quarter the match to really threaten to win it. Some uncharacteristic errors from Israel Folau put the Tahs under some extra pressure at a time when they wanted to be at the other end of the field. It was only a sudden drop off in the boot of Elton Jantjies that kept the Waratahs within a score until the final whistle.

The Waratahs haven’t won their opening match in South Africa since 2009 and they’ll be regretting the missed opportunity last night. Their discipline has been borderline for the last few weeks and last night it was their Achilles heel. Against a tough Lions team, they couldn’t afford to give away that sort of advantage.

The Game Changer

Rob Horne was yellow carded in the 27th minute for a lifting tackle on Lionel Mapoe. The 10 minute period resulted in 10 points to the Lions and the Waratahs were chasing the game from that point on.


The G&GR man of the match was unquestionably Jaco Kriel. He had a brilliant game in all facets making 18 tackles without a miss and over 80 metres with ball in hand. He was pivotal in several maul turnovers from holding Waratahs players up in the tackle.

For the Waratahs, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale were the most impressive.

Wallaby watch

Dave Dennis played with a lot of commitment and physicality. He certainly remains in contention for those last lock and backrower spots in the test squad. Benn Robinson produced another solid game and Kurtley Beale had has best game in a while. All these players will have to finish their season strongly if they want to convince Michael Cheika they deserve to be there when the colour of the jerseys is gold later in the year.

The Details

Crowd: TBA

Score & Scorers

Lions: 27
Tries: Coimbrinck (2), Vorster
Conversions: Jantjies 3/3
Penalties: Jantjies 2/5
Waratahs: 22
Tries: Hoiles, Ashley-Cooper, Horne
Conversions: Foley 2/3
Penalties: Foley 1/1, Beale 0/1

Cards & citings

Rob Horne – Yellow Card & cited
Jacques Potgieter – Yellow Card


  • brumby runner

    Kriel was a standout MOTM, I agree. Right from his initial run down the left when he brushed Beale off like a fly and ran over the top of Foley as though he was a mere speed bump.

    Horne was the Tahs’ best and really should have the Wallabies’ No 11 shirt.

    No way in the world would I say that Beale had a good game, though possibly his best of the season. Missed tackles, poor carries, easily held up in mauls (see Kriel) to force turnovers, poor decision making and too selfish with the ball. Even his one good chip kick which he regathered then led to a turnover at the next tackle and resulted in the Lions’ third try. Almost everything he touches this year turns to shit.

    I agree that Dennis is putting himself right in line for Wallaby selection.

    • Robbo_76

      I have to agree with BR, if that is Beales best game in a while then he must have been awful recently because I thought he was terrible in defence and his attack except for perhaps 2 nice involvements (chip and chase and then pass to aac) was not helpful to the Tahs

    • Toadflax

      I agree re Beale. He seems way off the pace this year, his defense is woeful and he seems to have become predictable. I would have Kerevi as 12 well before KB. The man is a monster

    • Braveheart81

      I agree that Beale’s defence was as bad as it generally is. The majority of the backline was as bad though and some were worse (Foley and Naiyaravoro).

      I get that you can’t stand Beale, but he had a much stronger game than he has at pretty much any point this season and was the only real provider in attack for the Tahs.

      • brumby runner

        How do you get it that I can’t stand Beale BH? I’m just calling it as I see it, and I seem to be backed up by other posters as well. His attack is certainly a step up from his defense, but he mostly dies with the ball rather than setting up the Tahs’ attack. He is not operating at a level warranting Wallabies’ selection and imo must be close to being replaced in the Tahs’ starting line up.

        Although, you are also right that I can’t ‘stand him’ following his many on and off field antics.

  • TheMountain

    How did Roach perform? stats say 100% tackle success, did he handle it at the set piece?

    • Dally M

      Hard to say, the scrum was often going backward like they were on roller skates, but Roach has done ok previously when coming on for Latu so i’m inclined to say he wasn’t to blame.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Solid. Didn’t get concussed and didn’t get sent off.

      • Nutta

        I know I’m late but that was a gold comment 3B

  • Dally M

    Disappointing game from the Tah’s.

    Constantly hitting the defence running too high & getting caught in a maul & thus turned over. They really missed Skelton in the scrum, which is not something you would have said last season.

    Thought JackPot’s yellow was overkill & Peyper was quick to pull out yellow on the Tahs but when the Lions constantly deliberately infringed when the Tahs were in the red zone he merely gave them another warning.

    • Alan Grouse

      Agreed. I just watched the game there and thought Payper had a shocker but its nothing unusual to see Saffa officials being a little more lenient to Saffa sides.

    • Toadflax

      I am a Tahs supporter and did not have a problem with the card on Horne but am mystified by JacPots. That said, it was not what Peyper blew us up for that was the issue (most of that was fair enough guv) it was his constant ignoring of lion’s infringements in the red zone, scrum infingments – boring in, dropping of binds, hinging (yes – a prop will overextend if his opposing prop hinges FFS), swimming up the side of line-out mauls and line-out throws that were not straight. I used to really like JP – harsh but fair in the past. He has been rubbish all year and not just with the Australian teams. He will be bad bad news at RWC time I fear.

  • Alan Grouse

    Unbelievably frustrating display from the Tahs. Actually awful. Ref was rubbish, Izzy more so. Yes the Lions have improved but if the Tahs are serious about going to go ”back to back” these mid table (at best) teams should be put away.

    ”Dave Dennis played with alot of commitment and physicality”

    Well the bloke quite obviously has heart but he, like Chapman, Hoiles, Ryan and how could we forgot ”Mummy” (from exeter to the waratahs lol) are all soft as sh#t. NSW have a soft underbelly which is badly exposed whenever Hooper, Kepu, Palu or Skelton fail to show up. Dennis should be nowhere near the Wallaby WC squad as he is simply ineffective! Wales and England especially will roll over him.

    Really worried about the Waratahs consistency. Some games they look like a championship winning side, others a team with no clue or direction. Hooper fan but i can’t help but feel that we need a stronger breakdown operator and pilferer.

    • Braveheart81

      I think Dennis was one of our better forwards and I stand by the fact that he’s pushing for that last locking spot in the RWC squad. Skelton, Simmons and Jones have been the form locks but there’s a lot of competition for that last spot between Horwill, Coleman, Dennis etc.

    • Sape

      Dennis has been all but soft this season.

  • Utah

    Disagree that Robinson had a solid game. His side of the scrum was back peddling all night. We need better than that.

    • Braveheart81

      I think it was a decent performance given the disruption in the pack. Roach is a much less noted scrummager at hooker than Latu or TPN and they had also lost Skelton whose scrummaging has been much improved this year.

      The Lions have one of the best scrums in the competition so I always thought it was going to be an area that troubled the Tahs. I think they did really well to win their own ball and not get smashed in the penalty stakes.

      • RobC

        Just a quick opinion on Lions scrum. They were the best last year. This year, they have been relatively soft, and caught out by other teams.

        Except the Lions replacement scrummagers in the last couple of games have been surprisingly good.

      • Utah

        Sure, I understand all that. I just don’t think you can give special mention to a front rower when said player was dominated in the scrums. Robinson’s side was struggling much more than Kepu’s side.

        Hey, I just noticed your profile picture!

        • Braveheart81

          My take on “Wallaby Watch” particularly at this stage of the season is looking at fringe players. Kepu is certainly a Wallaby starting XV player so I see little point discussing him. I was looking at players who will be on the bubble when it comes to Rugby Championship and RWC spots.

          And yes, I do have Robbo as my profile pic.

  • Nutta

    Random thoughts from an inconsequential neverwas:

    Congratulations to the Lions. Took their chances and thus took the win

    Beale just continues to miss tackles. I just don’t get it. I’m leaving the other off-field stuff out of it and concentrating on his play and I just don’t get his inclusion when there are guys as reliable as Cararro on the bench

    Hoiles is continuing to run just too high. He got held up in a choker tackle twice tonight and a number of times throughout the season. I love the guys ticker but he has to drop his body height

    I thought the Tarts locks played really well, particularly Chapman. Nai-a-voro (?) was used well off the scrums to bend the line but other times he was caught terribly flat-footed. You are the size of a truck man – come onto the ball at pace and DARE them to tackle you front on.

    The card given to Horne was again an example of over-zealous officials looking for a penalty instead of facilitating a game. Give off on punishing good hard honest contact for fks-sake and go after obstruction and infringing support players

    Likewise the ref tolerance of clear and on-going boring by the Lions no1 was was disappointing. He pinged him once, but seriously he was getting away with murder nearly all day

    I must say the Lions are my favourite Saffa team. The sheer enthusiasm they play with and the obvious willingness to run the ball gives us Aussies a lesson in running rugby (something we used to claim a mortgage on). Their No8 especially is a guy I really enjoy watching. However their no10 strikes me as a bit of a tossa.

    • Farthing

      Beale was the best attacking player on the field and threw brilliant passes that created two tries.

  • tah fan

    The problem was horne shaved his beard.
    We woulda won if he kept it.
    But in all seriousness we missed skeltons go forward and while tpn has been missing the go forward from latu was awesome. With the two two positions not giving us the same go forward as before we were on the backfoot playing cheikball.
    When we don’t have the cattle to get front foot ball so easily up the middle we need to be able to change tactics and move the ball a bit more wide.
    I thought we coulda hit hoops more outwide to get this momentum, its a better option than expecting beale to get you front foot ball out wide.
    biggest challenge for cheiks is being able to change game plan when necessary, not just for tahs but wallabies too.

  • PiratesRugby

    TPN and Latu have been critical to the Tahs’ performances this year. They were sorely missed.
    Horne was unlucky. He’s a decent player who has had a good season.
    I reckon the Tahs have shown disdain for the refs. The coach chatting refs at half time. The players constantly yelling at the refs. Cheap hits off the ball. It’s all coming back to haunt the Tahs.
    But playing in SAfr with key players missing is a tough ask.

  • Grant

    The reality is last week the Warratahs were saved by a local TMO who convinced the ref not to yellow card Warratahs and we paid for it this weekend. The Tahs seem to be believing the ‘enforcer’ hype rather than relying on their discipline and brilliance that saw them through last season and most of this season.

    • Nick

      One mildly niggly game and the whole Tahs team is a bunch of enforcers/enforcer sympathizers. Jesus…

      • Grant

        Quote in The Australian “NSW Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps has vowed the Super Rugby champions will not deviate from their physical approach to the game despite having three players suspended in the space of two weeks.”
        – they have been known for their wide expansive attacking play but the focus is now on their ‘physical approach’. Spiro Zavos wrote a great article in the SMH saying Skelton needs to be more like Brad Thorn and less like Bakkies Botha – Thorn won games, Botha lost them. If we didn’t have a local TMO against the Crusaders Skelton would have lost the game for us. Read Zavos article and I think you’ll review your ‘one mildly niggly game’ view.

  • boby

    After this game i would like to see

    Toby smith

    Take on the spring box and

    Ashley cooper

    Take on the allblacks

    That way we can have a look at two great sets of players and adjust accordingly. Some of the 1st pick wallabies are out of form like Kundrani and hooper.

    • jamie

      and the best openside in the world doesn’t get a start? This is stupid. You don’t completely change your squad like this, it means no combinations or consistency.

      • boby

        Yeah lets just keep doing what we have been doing since the last world cup. It seems to have worked really well.

        • jamie

          Well Foley and Hooper don’t seem to have the answers… And Cheika’s answer is fat penalty magnet skelton.

        • boby

          Yeah sooo you play quade and genia with there established combinations around them and the same with foley and fang and we assess same goes for hooper pocock and gill. The form 7 in the competition is Gill and Pocock has been playing a lot better than hooper so decision need to be made. If pocock blows his knee again should we just not go to the worldcup?

        • Dally M

          Lol…I can safely bet that:
          a) you wouldn’t say that within earshot of the bloke, and
          b) you couldn’t do what he does for 80 mins each week
          And on what basis is he a penalty magnet? Do you always make sweeping statements based on one game?

  • jamie

    2011 Quarter final doesn’t bring back any memories?

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