Review: Crusaders v Waratahs - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Review: Crusaders v Waratahs

Review: Crusaders v Waratahs

Everyone’s expecting a slaughter. Waratahs fans would be happy with an honourable loss, just don’t let it be a wipeout. Conditions were forecast to be awful, real Crusaders weather. But the weather gods were kind and conditions were great for rugby.

First half:

Both teams have come to play, and the action was fast and furious. The Waratahs were playing with speed, the Crusaders with power. The first 20 minutes play was fairly even, with the Crusaders making some uncharacteristic handling errors as a result of the Waratah linespeed. But while the play was fairly even, the scoreboard was not. Would you believe 29-0? I wouldn’t, but that’s what it was. Four magnificent Waratah tries, three converted, to zip.

From the kick-off O’Keefe started a trend that would continue all night. Any marginal decision went to the Crusaders. With Folau competing for the ball in the air, he was penalised for attacking the other player. Surprise! A Phipps box kick clearance inside the 22 was charged down, but the Waratahs continued to battle away. An explosive run out of our half put Cam Clark away for a great try in the corner, unconverted for 5-0. The next score was a Foley penalty from distance. Then Naiyaravoro jumped to secure an intercept and ran unimpeded to score under the posts for 15-0. The Crusaders kicked deep to Folau, who ran it back, passed to Beale then got the return pass to score. 22-0. Next to score was Rona off a great bomb take by Folau and it was 29-0 after just 23 minutes.

For the rest of the half the Waratahs were under sustained pressure and the Crusaders scored three times, two of which were converted. Phipps was yellow carded prior to the third try for an offence I couldn’t see and the half went an extra four minutes before it was oranges. The spectators were getting their money’s worth with seven tries and 48 points. That score was probably a fair reflection of the game. The Waratahs had suffered significant casualties – Fitzpatrick went for HIA in the first ten and didn’t return, Simmons busted his shoulder in a tackle and was replaced by Staniforth and Miller went off for Holloway.

Curtis Rona catches a clearance.

Curtis Rona catches a clearance.

Second half:

At the beginning of the second half the Crusaders were clearly on top. Their ability to offload in the tackle to a supporting player meant that despite the Waratahs tackling better than I have seen them all year they were still losing ground at a substantial rate. During this period the Waratahs got their only ruck penalty of the match and I was gobsmacked that O’Keefe awarded it given his leniency in the time up to that. The Waratahs scrum was under significant pressure by this stage, but still competing hard. Phipps came back on but only a few minutes later Naiyaravoro tried for a second intercept but could only knock on. Yellow card and penalty was the decision. The Crusaders kicked to the corner and bombarded the line till the debutante Ennor scored out wide. Unconverted for 29-24.

The Waratahs won a scrum penalty and Foley missed one of the kicks that could have won the game. Naiyaravoro returned to the game but the Crusaders had the bit between their teeth and O’Keefe awarded a penalty try after several scrums and the Crusaders had hit the front, 31-29. By this time the casualties were so bad that Johnson-Holmes was playing blind side flank, when Robertson was clearly fatigued and needed to be replaced. The Waratahs responded and the Crusaders conceded another penalty from distance but Foley missed again. Then with the Waratahs hard on attack O’Keefe adjudged that Staniforth had knocked on when clearly Todd put his hand in the ruck to knock it back. You could see from the look on Todd’s face that he had dodged a bullet. O’Keefe found another ruck penalty to the Crusaders to finish the game. Crusaders 31 – Waratahs 29.

The game:

On balance, this game was lost ten months ago, when the Waratahs decided not to bid aggressively for the big powerful forwards that were available and instead go for the lightweight locks and backrowers that they currently have. The Crusaders were always going to be able to dominate because the Waratahs have no one able to drive big runners backwards and destroy their momentum. The Waratahs technique that has their first tackler go low just allowed the Crusaders to offload in the tackle to the next powerful runner. They are very good at it and that’s why they lead the competition. Their offloading game allows them to wear other teams down because there is always a couple of players backing up to take the offload. In 2014 the Waratahs had Douglas in his prime, Jackpot and Palu. Now we have Hanigan, Miller and Wells and they just do not have the power game to stop the Crusader juggernaut.

Credit must still go to the Waratahs. While being clearly outplayed for much of the game, they scored some breathtaking tries and never gave up. A bit of luck with Foley’s kicking was all that stood between them and an unlikely win. That was as close as they’ll get to a win without getting the points as they will get this year. They are clearly the best Australian franchise, but the best NZ teams are still clearly better. The Bledisloes ain’t gonna be pretty.

I thought the officiating was poor. Three decisions stood out. Naiyaravoro’s yellow card was correct in law, though he was clearly trying for the intercept. But no NZ player in this competition has been carded for that offence despite it having been committed by them multiple times. Usually its just a scrum. The second issue was the blatant hands-in-the-ruck by Todd that was missed. The third was the blatant elbow to Beale’s neck by Moody in the lead up to the first Crusader try. Every official missed it and I guarantee it won’t be cited.

Taqele Naiyaravoro dreaming about smashing people.

Taqele Naiyaravoro dreaming about that second intercept.

 

The Game Changer

The try after the siren for half time allowed the Crusaders to go in to the sheds just ten points down and with their tails up.

The G&GR MOTM

For the Waratahs it had to be Folau. For the Crusaders, Bridge, Taufua and Mo’unga were very good and Whitelock’s referee management was very good, in addition to his play. Overall, give it to Taufua.

Wallaby watch

After this game showed the difference between the Waratahs and the rest of the Aussie teams they will be entitled to a good share of the squad. But only Folau, Beale and Rona clearly outplayed their opponents this afternoon.

 

The Details

Crowd: Not known.

Score & Scorers

Crusaders 31.
Tries: Moody, Taylor, Tamanivalu, Ennor, Penalty try
Conversions: Mo’unga (2)
Penalties: nil 

Waratahs 29 
Tries: Clark, Naiyaravoro, Folau, Rona
Conversions: Foley (3)
Penalties: Foley (1)

  • Fatflanker

    Well done Tahs. Nearly pinched a famous win. Some awful refereeing.

  • Richard Patterson

    Thank you for the write-up.
    20 Questions. if OK?
    Q1. Surprised that for the 2nd consecutive week the Waratah’s lose a tight game there to be won?
    Q2. Don’t they say winning big games starts with knowing how to win big games?
    Q3. For 2 weeks now haven’t the Waratahs (despite all their Wallabies) failed to demonstrate this knowledge?
    Q4. Isn’t composure a trait of demonstrating understanding of an answer to Q2?
    Q5. Doesn’t a lack of composure often lead to poor decision making?
    Q6. Isn’t poor decision making a sign of poor discipline?
    Q7. Haven’t the Waratahs too often labelled poor discipline as the basis for a disappointing final result?
    Q8. Is that a failure to handle “pressure” or a failure to answer Q2?
    Q9. If Bernard Foley is kicking at 87% this season, why does he miss 2 late penalties which would have likely sealed the win?
    Q10 Didn’t Bernard Foley do that in Dunedin last year in Bledisloe II?
    Q11 If the Waratah’s line speed in the 1st half had been so effective, why did it stop in the 2nd half?
    Q12 After scoring 29 points in 19 minutes, why did the Waratah’s fail to score another point in the remaining 61 minutes?
    Q13 Since when is failing to score points for 3/4 of the contest a recipe to win games in NZ?
    Q14 Oh – don’t the really good coaches and captains say “you take the referee out of the contest in the big games”?
    Q15 Isn’t demonstrating Q14 a definitive way of answering Q2?
    Q16 Isn’t Israel Folau a gifted player who you would love to see more involved in games?
    Q17 Isn’t straightening up an attack more threatening than crabbing it across the field?
    Q18 Wasn’t tonight’s game between 2 teams from 2 different countries a nice advertisement for Super Rugby?
    Q19 Was Michael Hooper sincere after the game when he said they love coming to NZ and testing themselves against good opposition?
    Q20 Would Australian players be better off continuing to play against good NZ opposition, or retreating to an Australian-only domestic competition?

  • Kokonutcreme

    Disappointing result for the Tahs but they weren’t disgraced. Not often a team can score 29 unanswered points on Crusaders home ground.

    Conceding those three tries before the break was criminal. I knew from that point which team were the more likely to win.

    They dug themselves a deeper hole having two players sin binned, playing most of the second half in their own half and with little possession was hard enough, playing 17 minutes with 14 men was supersized trouble.

    The two missed penalties were also tough for the Tahs as they were under so much pressure in the second half with little ball and defending for long periods. Converting those opportunities would have boosted their confidence and self-belief.

    The Tahs troubles with their set pieces is going to be targeted by opposition teams. How they repel stronger scrums and compete against the better lineouts is crucial if they’re going to succeed. Their line defence was a standout feature in the first half but they couldn’t sustain it for the rest of the match, given how much more tackling they were required to do, its hardly surprising.

    The Tahs showed that even a team like the Crusaders isn’t infallible when placed under pressure.

    • Brumby Runner

      The Tahs cope with their weaker scrum by collapsing as soon as the ball is behind the hooker’s feet. Have done so for a couple of years and did it again against the Crusaders. They should be penalised but seem to get the rub of the referees in most matches (as far as the scrumming is concerned).

      Their lineout is quite a bit more competitive.

  • Keith Butler

    How the hell did the Tahs manage to lose this one. Although one of their tries was a bit lucky, Folou looked to be at least a metre in front of Foley’s cross kick, the Saders should have been a man down when Moody stuck his elbow in Beale’s face in the lead up to his try. Missed by all the match officials. Straight red in my book. Foley’s missed penalty’s didn’t help much either.

    • Mr Wobbly

      Can only assume the TMO was outside taking a smoke break when that happened.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        And when Moody ran through Kurtley too?

    • mikado

      I thought the Tah’s first try followed a big knock-on from Hooper – not sure why that wasn’t called. Whereas I thought Folau was in line for the kick.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate Folau was at least a metre in front. Still refs didn’t pick it so good on him

  • Adrian

    Oh dear

    I’ve barely recovered.

    I thought a fantastic effort, where everything clicked in the 1st 25 min.
    Obvious to me they just became exhausted, as a great team (Crucaders) hit their straps.

    I rarely ever mention this,…but the ref? All 50/50s went one way. Some deserved ones went against Tahs, but Saders escaped some blatants.

    Scrum did well, considering its too light in the first place, and ended up with a prop at breakaway.

    I’m especially proud of them, but that (unfortunately) won’t necessarily mean a win next week.

    Sadly,…I predicted this, and almost the way it would play out

    • idiot savant

      Yes it was very pleasing to see the confidence the Tahs played with. The style they play suits the cattle they have and gives them the best chance of winning. I love to see rugby played like this where the ball scores the try and is more important than any individual player. Its the way Aussie sides used to play decades ago which is ironic given the kiwi coaches they have. This side is really well coached. Their defence is head and shoulders above any other Australian side and they run hard and play fast. Im backing Phipps for the Wallabies if Genia isn’t fit.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I thought Phipps was actually, kicking apart, very good. He was more accurate in his passing but still managed to get it away fast and that gave Foley so much more room

        • Hoss

          Yep.

        • Adrian

          A couple of years ago a friend of mine put the stopwatch on Phipps and compared him with Genia. Notwithstanding the odd bad pass, he was an average of 0.4 seconds per ruck faster in picking up and passing, and quicker to get there. He also commands the scrumbase better than anyone.

          I’d still have Genia, but Phipps is illogically slagged sometimes

          It’s all fun though

        • Bobas

          Phipps tried to fix his illogical slagging by lowering the bar, while dressed as a cow, with a golden shower.

        • Adrian

          BTW, I see Gordon as the longer term Genia replacement, with Phipps on bench in either case

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate I just wish he’d get his accuracy sorted. That and stop being the angry little fuckwit.

        • Mica

          But, but he’s a halfback – it’s in his DNA. Genia is probably the exception to the rule in this case.
          Just look at the incumbent AB scrummy – same description can definitely be applied to him….

        • mikado

          That sounds about right. Genia’s your best combination of speed and accuracy but for a back-up Phipps is still well worth considering.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hey Adrian. I’m not so sure it was a fitness/exhaustion thing. After that first 30 mins the Crusaders changed their game. Stopped kicking to Folau in space, stopped trying to make a play every ball and started committing a few more to the rucks. I think that’s where the game changed

      • Adrian

        Yes, on reflection I agree KRL, though I think there were other things as well, including Tahs unconsciously trying to hang onto lead…and ref

      • moaning expat

        Not it didnt. It changed when Moody elbowed Beale in the face. A blatant red card which- unsurprisingly- all kiwi officiates missed. And the good (usually) Justin Marshall stayed silent.

        And you yourself wonder why there are so may conspiracy theories out there re kiwi teams and refs. KRL you are usually the voice of reason when it comes to Kiwi input.

        Funny how i saw this on the weekend but not a mention yourself here and then now pretty m uch everyone calling it red card – including the citing commission. weird eh?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry mate I don’t agree it was the game changer regardless if it was called or not. Yeah a poor piece of adjudicating but even at 14 vs 15 the Crusaders would have beaten the Tahs. They proved that in previous games. I think the Tahs would have relaxed even more as they don’t have a lot of mental toughness, they don’t have a captain that can inspire them, they don’t have much attack if people don’t give it to Izzy and they are too weak in the forwards

        • moaning expat

          Agree with you and the DNA of of your comments. But no. A blatant red card and that would have changed it. Would we have beaten the Crusaders next outing? No. But there it is.

        • young gun

          load of rubbish, We are all aware of Foley’s weaknesses and the score etc, but the fact remains that point clearly altered the outcome of the game.

          Firstly, they don’t get 7 points from “Moodies” try, secondly, they lose their number 1 prop, thirdly, they replace him with someone still competent, but lose a flanker (usually teams drop the flanker for a red carded prop). Seven man scrum against 8, do you think they could consistently create the pressure in the scrum to eventually get the penalty try? I don’t. They my win the odd one or muck up Waratahs scrum on occasion, but no way they could do what they did three scrums in a row. That’s another 7 points. 7 sheep + 7 sheep = 14 sheep. Suddenly the score’s not so flattering.

          No one is saying the Waratahs are a better team than the Crusaders, clearly they aren’t, Crusaders are the benchmark, but on this day they were and the ref, and his mates, changed that outcome through either one of two possibilities (1) they are all incompetent, or (2) …. I think no 1. I’m a New Zealand born and raised ref by the way, but it’s really starting to irritate me with the way New Zealanders just can’t bring it in themselves to say “..’ you know guys, we all love this game, and you’re right, it was wrong, lets hope its better next time and may the best man win…” but you can’t. Every Kiwi on here that has offered any sort of support around that Moodie’s try was wrong then goes all passive aggressive with “.. but but but, what about blah blah blah blah ..” when blah blah blah had no direct impact all. Its all about creating red herrings, Just can’t admit they are wrong. The game dying here, and you’re just killing it more every day. If the tables were turned, even on this one game, yet alone with the state of the game here, you’d all be up in arms.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate your country is proving itself capable of killing the game without NZ’s help. Blame it all on us if it makes you feel better though

        • young gun

          You are absolutely right, Australia is killing the game itself, my point is that these things don’t help as Australian rugby has to live off the smell of an oily rag. Your response does prove my point, by the way. If you had read my note you’d know I’m a New Zealander myself. Started my rugby journey there and could tell you All Black teams going back to the 1960’s. I’m in my sixties but are still quite capable of observing social behaviors. Anyway, onward and upward, here’s to the game. Cheers

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Will always agree to the last point and disagreeing on here is what the forum is for. Cheers to you too

    • Hoss

      For all the opinions, views & facts on here today i proffer this. This game at least showed the Crusaders dont do anything flash, but are just so drilled in the basics and the difference, gap, gulf, fuck it – Mariana Trench between those of the Long White Cloud and us is the 6 inches between the ears. They trust their training, each other, the work on the paddock, game management and ability to in the big moments. By comparison we are a parasite infected rabbitt in the headlights of the Hume Highway at 6.20am on a Monday morning just waiting to be hit by a truck and hoping its painless.

      Happy to concede they are a champion team with impeccable culture and a generation of success – thats a given. But stand back for a minute, look at the game in context of a blue-print for taking on the Dark Lords and there is opportunity, but only if learnings are applied. We can be fit, we can upskill(long way to go) but until we address the wandering Roo’s in the top paddock, harness them, train them, eliminate them, well will continue to be a smudge on the Hume Highway, seconds of brave resistance, ultimately pummelled by a black truck that we didnt get the plate number of.

      • Adrian

        Wow…

      • idiot savant

        I fear that when we reach the same level of thickness between the ears as those on the other side of the Mariana Trench we will start to play the same kind of boring slugfest that the Canes and Blues played on Friday. Make a mess of every ruck, obstruct quick play the balls, spoil at every opportunity, deny space, stand flat and tackle and wrestle all day. Sometimes I think kiwi rugby is a bit like watching Djokovich play tennis. Its basically a prolonged negative defensive performance waiting on the opposition to make a mistake. Give me the Tahs any day, or the Lions. At least they play rugby. Fuck it that rabbit is to be admired. Hes Don Quixote.

        • mikado

          Spoiling the opposition is part of the game and if you don’t do it you’re going to lose.

          It is indeed like Djokovic vs whathisname – a beautiful, elegant player but I can’t remember his name as history doesn’t celebrate the loser.

        • idiot savant

          Yes mate. Winning isn’t every thing. Its the only thing.

  • Kokonutcreme

    I know the majority of comments will be about refereeing decisions or missed decisions that went against the Tahs. In a contest decided by a three point margin the forensic analysis is always looking for the prime suspect.

    However if positions were reversed and the Crusaders opened a 29-0 lead after 30 minutes in the first half, would anybody expect them to lose the game with that vantage?

    Why did the Tahs mentally switch off? Was it fatigue, complacency (although I can’t imagine why), or lack of self belief?

    Oh the irony, against the Lions they lost 29-0, then they go out and score 29-0 and lose again.

    • Fed

      Good points. Humility and accountability/ taking personal responsibility will be the start of a resurgence for Australian rugby. Blame will maintain the status quo.

      They should’ve locked out the game regardless. Blaming the ref will only mean self-analysis will be underdone.

      The best teams look in the mirror not out the window regardless.

  • Hoss

    Good evening, good grief, good heavens and good lord.

    What, how,why,when,but,if, only and jesus effing christ.

    Firstly, well done Tahs on a much improved display, it was electric and entertaining and reason for some satisfaction.

    I dont like words like brave, becasue at 29 – 0 up you should then control the game, not necessarily win by 29, but OMFG you still SHOULD win it, your destiny is yours and whilst their will be contributing effects, that buffer should see yo u win 38-22, 44,28 etc etc etc. . What was the word they used about one G.Norman whenever he would squander leads and ultimately fall short…..

    Not being smart after the event, but when i saw it was Okeeffe as ref i said to the gathered disciples that he loved the sound of his own pill and 10 seconds in he pings Dusty for his challenge in the air i thought ‘yep, here we go again’

    For all the crap decisions, elbows in neck, tipping tackles, Todd hands in ruck and he rules knock-on against us (WTF) – how can the Tah’s let him be a factor in the game with a 29 point lead – you invite him back to influence (and the cock sucking mofo didnt disappoint) – but FFS when you lie down with dogs, dont complain about fleas – 29 to frigging nil GAGr’s, 29 to fucking NIL and we LOST.

    So many emotions right now – financially frustrated – i was on the Tahs at 13 plus (paying $50) and at 29 nil i had 12500 tax-free reasons to love the TAhs again.

    My general emotion though is hollow. The same mistakes existed tonight.Foley failed touch finders, no leadership when the game is there to be won, shanked penalties from in front (i said a few weeks back his techniques, temprament and mental fragility would haunt the Tahs and tonite, well….is he the ‘iceman’ because he freezes and loses us games ?) Poor discipline (last count was 14 v 5), no posession and territoy in the second half.

    The Tah’s need to toughen up mentally – they are weak as buggery – ‘for once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible’.

    The Tah’s dont believe enough oh and then theres that prick Okeefe…

    If Moody doesnt get 4-5 weeks then all bets are off

    • Andy

      Hoss, I thought the same thing when I saw the choice in ref just before the kick off. And and after the first 10 seconds you just knew he would be a factor in the game. He is such a terrible contributor to the sport.

    • onlinesideline

      12k – holy shit that would have been gut wrenching. Even if you took the dog for a walk afterwards, no matter how fluffy, the dog wouldnt have been safe. Thats a holiday in Sydney for 4 days or 2 years wages for a doctor in Hungary (I kid you not)

      Seriously though if Reece Hodge isnnt in the Wallabies run on side all season we are in for a season of near wins, cruel loses. Foley’s kicking reminds me of when I first used a sand wedge when I was 12 down at my local 9 hole. Its just not good enough to win test matches consisently. We will never be a force with him at the helm.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        The technique is so ugly too.

        I think the commentators said he was about 85% for the season though?!

        • onlinesideline

          yeah but would love to see the rugby equivalent of the cricket pie graph ie the batsmans knock, where on the pitch, boundaries, 1 runs, 2 runs – whatever thats called. Because I would bet Reece nails a higher percentage of toughies than Foley

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No question.

          There’s no Aussie kicker I want kicking when the pressure is on than Bernard Foley.

        • onlinesideline

          granted waratahs fnal kick and RWC kick were awesome but if you are 2 behind and on your half way with 30 secs to go 15 in from sideline – Reece or Foley ? – because that happens alot in our test matches for some reason.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          People forget that the only reason Foley had to make that kick against Scotland is because he had missed 3-4 easy ones already in the match.

          Also, I think he has become flakier since the RWC. Too many pathetic performances off of the tee since then.

        • onlinesideline

          “There’s no Aussie kicker I want kicking when the pressure is on than Bernard Foley” – Im confused. You do or dont prefer him to reece ?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Want kicking less…’ that should read…

          I’d say it has been a long day, but I don’t even have that excuse..

        • onlinesideline

          :))) – I thought it was me

        • Hoss

          Spot on mate. Foley is the Jack the Ripper of place licks – stab,stab,stab,stab.

          Theres no follow through, no smooth flow.

          One he did kick last night saied over like a large $5 beef pie that was kicked by a horse. Its just so ugly and unreliable and from 40 plus why isnt Beale kicking anyhow ??

      • Hoss

        Hi ate – sorry for delay, your probably sound asleep right now.

        My reason for the bet – they are just so unreliable that it probable they (NSW) would pull one out their arses.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep probably worth it from that point. Pity the game was 80 minutes long not 30.

        • Hoss

          i did look at ‘cash out’ at 29-0 mate – the TAB were offerring $3.60 / $1 wagered – i sensed glory and a score somewhere around 42-26 sort of thing.

          A fool and his money………………

        • onlinesideline

          there have been way stupider than holding on at 29-0 lead – people were still holding on to bitcoin at 20 000 a pop

    • Brisneyland Local

      Morning Hoss. Well you are in a much better mood than I am. Or at least masking your outrage better.
      When watching the Dark Saders play, my Kiwi mates always say, these boys from the plains dont wake up til half time. And they proved to be correct (comment was made before the game had even started).
      – I dont know how you blow a 20+ lead!
      – Foley continues to be shit. But gauranteed he will be the 10 come the Ireland matches.
      – Struggling to watch Aus rugby at the moment!

      • Hoss

        I follow Homer SImpsons parenting advice mate – bottle it all up until one day your in a post office and ……….the next your 10-15 with good behaviour.

        I have been in a numb haze all day. How do you blow it like that, how ??

        I can cop the $250 loss to my TAB account, swings and round-abouts. But just how do you lose from 29 nil up – sure as shit if these pricks were jorses there’d be a stewards inquiry or they’d be dog food already.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am sure the there has been a review of the betting patterns on that one already.
          I think maybe Gibson bought in Greg Normanas a motivational speaker!
          Because the was a great white choke!

        • Hoss

          Sighting Committee just met and news in – Beale got 12 weeks, 10 for attacking the elbow of an All Black, 2 for having the temerity to even be in his presence. RA has issued an apology to the Crusaders who are meeting now to discuss further sanctions………….

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate, I always told you that Beale fella was dodgy as!

    • moaning expat

      2 weeks and ignored onfield. lets just say what would it be if it was Cooper on Lord “Rutchie”?

  • mikado

    Wow, extraordinary game. Gutted for the Waratahs.

  • Andy

    Good game to watch but immensely frustrating as a tahs fan. They really let that one go. Subs were poor as well. Holloway? He is soft as buggery for such a large human. He dropped off so many tackles I lost count. I will say our 29 nil lead was slightly helped by a lot of Sader errors. But the tahs were playing well none the less.

    But I hate to say it…. The ref was a factor in this game and I’ve seen enough games of O’Keefe to suggest 2 things:

    1. He shouldn’t be refing Super rugby let alone internationals. Simply, he’s a terrible referee; and
    2. He shouldn’t be refereeing NZ games against foreign opposition. Reds v Blues last year was even worse than this one.

    • Adrian

      Agree.
      Tahs just don’t have lots of quality back-ups in squad.
      I hope Latu plays next week though
      ….and I hope Dempsey is back soon,…and Simmons and Hanigan aren’t inured.

      But,…very proud of them for having a red hot crack at the champions

  • Fed

    This approach fosters mediocrity. They should get a certificate of participation, yet they only participated for half the game lol

  • onlinesideline

    that photo of Gibson – I cant look at it anymore – looks like someones kidnapped one of his kids – tortorous, the poor bloke seems to be having a bloody awful time at the Tahs.

  • Nicholas

    Whilst the ref did have a shocker, I disagree about neutral refs. It should be the best man/woman for the job (it seems like O’Keefe needs to spend some time in the ITM) , when we (fans and players) start questioning the integrity of the refs we will start to have big issues.

    • joy

      Fans and players have every right to question the integrity of officials who missed obvious thuggery probably because they were too busy cheering in the try scorer. It was a dreadful oversight and the officials should be red carded. Moody should be buried alive next to Meads.

      • Nicholas

        Fans have a right to question performance. The refs performance was not to standard and there should be a course of action taken to ensure that the referee is adequately prepared for future games at this level. I agree that it was oversight and the TMO should have spoken up as well.

    • John Tynan

      Did you hear some of the TMO discussions in the Reds vs Sunwolves? It wasn’t the difference in that game, but a clear case for neural.

      • Nicholas

        No I missed that game, but there has been language difficulties in past when the sunwolves play.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    It’s hard luck the Waratahs (but at least you can be happier than the Brumbies or Reds) but good lord, no professional team should ever lose a game from 29-0 up. It’s unforgivable.

    The Tahs went into their shells and played not to lose. After the 30min mark they barely had the ball, and when they did they weren’t attacking with it. Don’t shut up shop against the Crusaders in Christchurch, and definitely not when you have Folau, Beale and Naiyaravoro in the team.

    This match the mental side is one of the main reasons for this winless streak.

    Foley missing easy kicks. Again. Wallabies could have won the Bledisloe and Waratahs could have won if he just made the easy kicks.

  • Greg

    Moody has been cited.

    It shits me when that sort of play, by any player, goes unpunished on the field.

    Offside – penalty.
    Obstruction – penalty.
    Foul-play – red card.

    Try scored and not even any sign that he thought he had done the wrong thing. Anyone can make a mistake but waiting to be cited before you put your hand up is poor. I hope he gets a long holiday to consider whether he wants to play in our game.

    All that said…… Foley kicks the penalties and we win.

    • onlinesideline

      mate I know Ill piss off a few here but it happens 30-40 times a match. You just dont see it. That are elbows and shoulders galore everywhere. Moody just forgot he was out in open and KB milked it too. We do it all the time as well. Should he be sited – of course but lets get real, everyone does it in forwards. Hes no different to anyone else.

      • Greg

        Happy to see the relevant videos… I don’t think it does happen that much… but not sure that anyway changes any of my comments.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah ur right, Im just saying that it happens more than people think deep in the hellfire of the everyday office for forwards

    • Archie

      Yep hate it when foul play goes uncarded. Like Kepu on DC in the RWC final or Scott Higgenbotham’s knee on McCaw.

  • Keith Butler

    Watching the first 30 mins my wife and I came to the conclusion that the Saders were letting the Tahs run up a few points to see if they could pull it back. Couldn’t possibly be true?

    • onlinesideline

      yeah practise for Bled 1

  • Archie

    ‘Any marginal decision went to the Crusaders’… really?

    I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. Watching with red and black fans we couldn’t believe the officials miss the knock forward from Hooper in the lead up to the first try, nor the offside from Folau in another try soon after. That’s 12 points right there… nearly half the Tah’s final total.

    If you ignore any luck that went your way and only commit to memory all the calls that went against you… of course you’re going to be crying about perceived inequality post match

    • BigNickHartman

      Moody elbowed Beale in the throat

      • Archie

        Aha. For whatever reason sometimes referees miss these incidents. Sometimes it’s worse… they see it and decide not to card it (think Kepu on DC in RWC final).

        So anyway how does any of this = ‘Any marginal decision went to the Crusaders’ ?

        • BigNickHartman

          Ok meant to say I agree with the gist of your comment. But the last sentence…the Moody non call alone is hard to take. There’s no crying about that. If the Australian sides were any good I’m sure Kiwis and Saffers would also be complaining about home refs and the lack of TMO against the home side

        • I could take half a page to make a complete case but you wouldn’t bother to read it. Instead, I’ll just refer to one facet of O’Keefe’s game to illustrate – contested marking.

          At the beginning of the first half Folau competed in the air with a Crusaders player and was immediately penalised. To my eyes it was a perfectly legal contested kick. Then at the beginning of the second half there was a very similar incident with the roles reversed. I would not have penalised that contest either. But having established the precedent in the first couple of minutes, the second one had to be penalised.

          Unconscious bias is pernicious. Even the great Nigel is not immune from it. It comes because referees know that NZ teams, Super or national are clearly playing the game at a higher level than anyone else. Subconciously they assume that when something looks dodgy its just that they haven’t seen it properly, because the NZ teams are just so quick. So, unless its glaringly obvious to them they just don’t penalise it.

          In a reverse case on Saturday Folau was offside in the lead up to one of the tries. I saw it as I was watching and immediately groaned inwardly, knowing it would be knocked out as soon as it was referred. O’Keefe didn’t refer it. Why? Folau is a very good player and is rarely offside in that situation and O’Keefe’s brain took a short cut and decided he probably wouldn’t be.

          Australian teams of all persuasions have much poorer levels of skill and so when a referee sees something dodgy he immediately assumes its dodgy and pulls it up. Phipps used hands in the ruck – clearly a yellow card. Todd used hands in the ruck – clearly a Waratah knock on. The trouble is that humans are fallible and referees are human. Our brains take shortcuts when operating under pressure and the match on Saturday was a stark example.

          But you’ll see that bias to a greater or lesser extent in all matches. Its the task of the referees trainers and managers to work with referees to minimise unconscious bias. My chief complaint is with them – their task is to minimise that bias through training and counselling. I can see no evidence that this has been a focus at all and from the evidence of my eyes it has been effectively ignored.

          Higgers got four weeks for what was a lesser crime to my eyes. Moody got two. Why? Everyone knows Moody is one of the best in the world in his position, so there is an assumption that he “wouldn’t have done that deliberately, he was just careless”. Unconscious bias is everywhere, but if you want to be fair and impartial you have to work to reduce it to the minimum.

        • Archie

          Higgers has history with judiciary. Moody does not. That’s what reduced Moody’s sentence from 4 to 2 weeks. Pretty standard process

        • Higgers got two weeks off for good behaviour and contrition too. He started with more, which is what I was complaining about. The judiciary process can best be described as a lottery with some level of inbuilt bias.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Well it did get cited. I’m not going to even talk about the officiating. TBH I think there was as much missed against the Waratahs but lets just agree to disagree as we’ll never see eye to eye on this and should just park it.

    Interestingly, and sorry BLL, but I thought apart from his usual pugnacious bullshit and very poor box kicks Phipps had a good game and he kept the Waratahs in it. The speed of his pass gave Foley more space than he’s had all year and that allowed more front foot ball. First 29 minutes from the Tahs were good and there was some very good play. However, rugby is an 80 minute game and that’s where it was lost. Not sure what happened but apart from stopping bringing in Folau in, Beale started crabbing across field instead of using the ball, tackles that were being made were being missed and the pressure that caused the Crusaders mistakes seemed to die off. This was a missed opportunity. I also noticed that in the first 30 minutes the kicks were being done by Beale and Phipps and there was actually some distance to them. Why bring Foley back after that? I just don’t understand it. I thought Miller was having a very good game before he was pulled and I’m sorry but I don’t think Staniforth deserves his reputation. I thought he was pretty poor actually.

    I’m disappointed that Folau wasn’t brought into the game more after the first 30 but as soon as the Kiwis stopped kicking it to him he just never saw the ball. Poor form by Moanga and the rest. While I’m not a huge fan of Folau, and certainly not at 15 he is the master of receiving kicks and making use of space so why any opposition would kick it directly for him to run onto is beyond me. I dare say that was part of the half time speech by Robinson.

    • idiot savant

      Theres a pattern developing KRL. Fraser yellow carding Aussies in the Reds Jags game last year, Pickerill red carding Higgers in the Reds Rebels game, O’Keefe ignoring an elbow to the head way off the ball and the Tahs captain, Williams looking for a penalty in the dying seconds of last years Reds Crusaders game. And these are just the ones I can remember. What strikes me is after watching whole seasons how untypical some of these decisions are and how similar incidents have gone unpunished many times. I would love to see the stats on the number of penalties and cards the kiwi refs give Australian sides vs the number refs from other countries give Australian sides. I would like to be proved wrong but it seems to my naked eye watching the games that kiwi refs are very quick to card Australians when they are not so quick to card kiwis and that they treat all Australian captains either with contempt or with very poor people skills. I know you are a referee and defensive of refs and good on you. God knows its a hard and thankless task. And thank you and your brethren for doing it. And Im certainly not arguing in favour of the Australian refs who almost all ignore the rucks. I want to be proved wrong but its hard not to think that kiwi refs let out a little resentment towards us overbearing Aussies when they have the whistle in hand. We probably deserve it.

      • Richard Patterson

        The Wallabies have played in 10 Super Rugby games this year. In 9 of those games they have been the more heavily penalised side and average 11 penalties conceded a game (compared to 7 by opposition teams).

        Referees for their 10 games have come from Australia 5x (Angus Gardiner 3x & Nic Berry 2x), South Africa 2x (Jaco Peyper 2x) and New Zealand 3x (Mike Fraser 2x, Ben O’Keaffe 1x).

        Statistics suggest the Waratah’s have a fundamental problem with discipline. I think they have had for 2-3 years. Blame it on laziness, poor understanding of the rules or an intentional plan to cheat and hope they get away with it. Michael Hooper references poor discipline after every Waratah’s loss — he did again on Saturday. Somehow the message does not seem to be getting through. Maybe they just don’t want it to.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think this comes back to making poor decisions under pressure. Most penalties are not deliberate in that they aren’t pre- planned but people under pressure can make poor decisions. If I was Gibson I’d be looking at a mind coach to help them

        • Richard Patterson

          I agree KRL. When you field a small pack like the Waratahs do you run the risk of getting ill-disciplined up front when the pressure really gets applied. I believe we saw that in the 2nd half yesterday.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think this comes back to making poor decisions under pressure. Most penalties are not deliberate in that they aren’t pre- planned but people under pressure can make poor decisions. If I was Gibson I’d be looking at a mind coach to help them

        • idiot savant

          I can see how clever it is to build a narrative about the Tahs lack of discipline but with the exception of the game against the Sunwolves the penalty count was relatively close in all the other games. The penalty count yesterday was 17-7 with 2 yellow cards. And considering how the kiwis pride themselves on pushing boundaries I find the ‘intentional plan to cheat’ allegation ridiculous.

      • Keith Butler

        Can’t say i’ve ever favoured having a home ref refereeing a home gaIn this game all the officials were from NZ. To remove any notion of bias you need neutral refs for these games. Just a thought but the NH season effectively ends in mid May.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        The referee in me hopes that’s not true. I will say that when a team is going well and attacking it is hard to not give them the rub of the green as you do get caught up in the run of play. It’s interesting some kiwis bitching about a knock on and off side in a couple of the Tahs tries and again I think it was more the Tahs going so well. It’s almost like rewarding the team being positive and is more of an unconscious thought flow than anything else. Personally I thought the first penalty against Folau was bullshit and although I didn’t see Moody’s elbow at the time it wasn’t good and I think he’ll be spending more time on the sideline.

        • Greg

          I think the hearing is in progress atm. Peni was suspended for 5 weeks. I think his action was careless rather than malicious. He showed immediate concern and remorse. His action could nevertheless have resulted in a serious injury.

          Perhaps malicious is too strong a description of Moody’s action… but careless is certainly too weak. No concern shown at the time and no acknowledgement of his foul play. Moody’s action could also have resulted in serious injury. He also had no right to take any part in teh game in his position.

          It will be interesting….

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          2 weeks mate. Penalty starts at 4, must be a different law than what Peni was charged under, and good record (which is true) and guilty plea reduced it to 2

        • Greg

          I think that is surprisingly light. I would say the same if it was an oz player. I thought it was poor and dangerous behaviour.

          I also think that that try had a big effect on the game but that, as far as I understand, is more relevant to the referee’s performance report than the sanction.

          All that said…. Foley kicks the penalties… Waratahs win.

        • idiot savant

          The knock on allegation is another example of how much cleverer kiwi sides are than Australian sides. Robertson used it to defuse the fact that his side had a leg up with a 17-7 penalty count and 2 yellow cards. Its great double think. Gives the impression the Saders were hard done by! Most Australian coaches aren’t that clever.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        The referee in me hopes that’s not true. I will say that when a team is going well and attacking it is hard to not give them the rub of the green as you do get caught up in the run of play. It’s interesting some kiwis bitching about a knock on and off side in a couple of the Tahs tries and again I think it was more the Tahs going so well. It’s almost like rewarding the team being positive and is more of an unconscious thought flow than anything else. Personally I thought the first penalty against Folau was bullshit and although I didn’t see Moody’s elbow at the time it wasn’t good and I think he’ll be spending more time on the sideline.

    • mikado

      Yeah, speed of the SH is vitally important (both speed to the breakdown and speed of pass). It’s a shame Phipps can’t combine speed with consistent accuracy.

  • RugbyM

    Moody has been cited for the elbow to KBs neck. That’s something.
    Should have come during the game as a) he was offside, b) took the player without the ball, c) deliberate, with force, elbow to the neck.
    Red card every day of the week and twice in slow motion. A few weeks to think about it at least (if SANZAAR have any credibility left)

    • Habitual offender

      Only seen the replays but, yellow even before contact was made
      No doubt deliberate and blatant.
      Good players dont need that shite in their game, regardless of where their from.

  • Greg

    update on Moody from the hearing…

    https://twitter.com/DGPetrie/status/995567191083835392

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      What a cock

  • Keith Butler

    Can’t say I’ve ever favoured a home ref refereeing a home team. To remove any notion of bias the ref should be neutral. Just a thought but the NH season effectively ends in mid May. Why not bring down some of the top NH refs to take games. Appreciate the issue of interpretation but the laws are the same north or south.

  • Patrick

    Mate. Great write-up but seriously, this:
    “A bit of luck with Foley’s kicking… ” did you mean: “had we only selected a reliable kicker” ???

  • Nutta

    Comments from the unimpressed:

    * The Tarts blew a 29pt lead. That’s disgraceful for professional footballers. In fact it would be fkn disgraceful from my local 2nd division 4th grade side as well.

    * Refereeing did not cost the Tarts victory. 2 missed penalties, a ridiculous pass from Miller that gave the Cru their first try, some God-awful defence and a featherweight pack did that. Yes there were some questionable calls but that is sport. Just ask the Mariners.

    * BUT if Moody does not spend a looonnngggg time on the sideline then it is a very real problem. A lead runner who assaults a defender with an elbow to the throat that clears a channel to score a critical try must surely deserve sizeable sanction.

    * Nick Nick Nick. You do not start a post match summary by blaming a referee for a loss when it was your own side that blew a 4try lead. You just don’t.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Evening Nutta. Been a bad weekend mate. That turn around has to get people starting to think about mental toughness and how to change it. Too many stupid decisions under pressure that can’t be fixed by a hard physical training session. I fear that the worst is yet to come and that we’ll see that in Japan next year.

      • Nutta

        We are seeing the result of a whole generation of overly protected, under-played, mediocre players. Their objective is to be a pro athlete who trains well – not a rugby player who wins. You reap what you sow.

        • Nutta

          I’ll look at 2 Cru players in isolation. Jordan Taufua is dead set dominating atm. He’s been banging away in the NPC since 2012. And against the Donkeys they rolled out Mike Delayney who has been banging around Bay of Plenty NPC since 2004 I think. No flash in the pans there. Compare that to the cotton rolled schoolboy hero’s we roll out?! No fkn comparison. I said a few weeks back: give me a club warhorse over a wonder boy any day because they will make their tackles, have earned their jersey and understand the gift they have been given. But nah. We will limit our selection pool to the softest group of silver-spooned private school sucks we can find, load up those chosen kids full of self-promoting bullshit, croton and protein whey, sit them on sidelines when they should be splitting their heads learning the trade and then feed him to the grinder instead.

        • You make a good point, but a question from someone not so familiar with the NRC, isn’t that supposed to be where these club warhorses are making their case for Super Rugby time? I don’t think you see as many school-boy “stars” rushed into Super Rugby in NZ because it’s expected you do some time in provincial rugby first, so at least you get exposed to some semi-pro rugby before being thrown in the deep end in SR. Are they still throwing these 18-year-old “next superstars” straight into Super Rugby in Aus, or has the NRC changed nothing?

        • Nutta

          Bang on. Schoolboy legends, straight into extended training groups, sit on the sidelines in their No1’s watching the big boy play then straight into the maelstrom.

    • Hoss

      Uuuhumm – its was the Jets Nutta, the Jets. Melboudrne were only 2 metres offside……

      • Nutta

        Sorry mate. You’re right. Fk it – it’s only filthy flare-up-the-butt soccer. But you get the point.

        • Hoss

          Oh, i hear you mate – handbags at 10 paces.

        • Nutta

          Fixed.

    • joy

      Come off it, the referee deserves all the criticism he gets. So to the Kiwi commentary team who must have noticed too. I don’t think these transgressions are incidental. I believe they are coached. Its ruining the game.

      • Nutta

        Yes the referee group deserves everything that comes their way. They did what they did. Yes I agree these transgressions are not incidental. I’ve had volumes to say on that before. And yes I agree it’s a blight on the game.

        But I am responsible for what I do. The Tarts (who for the record aren’t my team; the bloody Donkeys are which is even worse) had better than a 4try lead and THEY AND NO ONE ELSE let that go.

    • moaning expat

      2 weeks- Well there goes your Moody spending a long time away in jail. But an Aussie will go away for 6 weeks for something not even in that ballpark.

  • RugbyM

    2 weeks for that?! 2 weeks for offside, obstruction, taking the player without the ball, deliberate with force elbow to neck… No wonder people are walking away from the game and have no faith in the administration

    • moaning expat

      I think you summed it up when you said – people are walking away from the game. 2 weeks for that- effectively a game changer. Okeefe a complete shite ref- When you have guys like KRL (usually a voice of reason here) thinking thats OK,

      then we are fucked.

  • Country kid

    Influential moments….at 29-0 & 30th minute, Folau passes to Naiyaravoro in some space near half way, left sideline. Naiyaravoro tries to beat the covering defender by skirting down the sideline. Crusader 13 made a superb tackle, taking Naiyaravoro over the sideline; missed opportunity for the Waratahs to attack deep inside the Crusaders half; Crusaders dominate territory and possession from that point to half time.

    Around 34-35th minute Waratahs regain possession inside their 22. Will Miller gets the ball with reasonable time and space + plenty of support to his left; his pass goes to nobody, the ball bounces 10 metres towards their own line; Waratahs miss the chance break out; Crusaders score soon after

  • Brisneyland Local

    Ah come one! I so wanted to use that Greg Norman pun, and now you are taking that one away from me! ;-)

  • Mart

    I’m not that bothered by the elbow. Beale was fine, it’s more the fact that the ref’s didn’t even look at a defender getting taken out and then the guy who did it scoring a try. It all happened right in font of them

    Didn’t Ben Okeefe ref the Wallabies game in london, denied the Moore try cause Robshaw was coming back onside and etc etc
    The ref’s check everything thing these days But not this? very odd. I think with the tip tackle he just wanted game to end. Don’t bother looking at that either.

    Sure the Tahs screwed up a 29 point lead But you cannot ignore the avalanche of penalties and yellow cards to one team and not the other.

    ‘Take the ref out of the equation they say and play better’ At 29-0 you’d think they’d done that but no.

    ‘make sure you’re the team dominating and on the front foot so the ref calls go with you’ At 29-0 you’d think they’d done that but no.

  • MNIMD

    Thought: Was the Moody offence a deliberate and planned ploy that the ‘Saders trained for? i.e “Let’s get a player to run a decoy line and ensure that He makes contact with a defender to take them out of the line as this is only ever penalised X% of the time and increases our chances of scoring by x%.

    Second thought: “Lets use physicality (elbows to the head off the ball) to take KB out of the game as we know that we are x% more likely to win with him out of the game and even if we lose a player for 10 mins we are still x% likely to win, and there is only x% chance of a Red card. In the worst case where we receive a Red card lets make sure we use player that has a clean record and we put in an early guilty plea so we only lose him for 2 weeks and we have plenty of backups in that position.

    Is this what Hoiles meant by we need to “Cheat better”?

  • Tah Tragic

    “On balance, this game was lost ten months ago, when the Waratahs decided not to bid aggressively for the big powerful forwards that were available and instead go for the lightweight locks and backrowers that they currently have. ”
    So true. We are just not going to be competitive this year with the forward pack. I don’t want to criticize individual players as I don’t think that is the issue. 4 to 8 are all too similar; very mobile & quick but lightweight. The props, apart from Kepu, are not effective (although HJH has potential).

NSW Waratahs

Grew up watching Catchpole and Hawthorne, then later the Ella brothers, on Channel Two on Saturday afternoon. Expert commentary by Cyril Towers. No better rugby education ever to be had.

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