This game was against a team on the bottom of the table with 0 points after three rounds. They would be desperate to break their duck but they should be ripe for the picking. Should be, but Gibson will be asking “What the hell just happened?”
In what must be the fastest score in Super Rugby. the Waratahs kicked off, Newsome challenged, knocked it back, Jaguares regathered and Boffelli scored in the corner. Sanchez converted, 7-0 after 30 seconds!
The Jaguares then scored in the same corner after a turnover. Two tries in 11 minutes. Sanchez converted for 14-0. Waratahs got to 2 metres out but turned it over and next minute Tuculet scored under the posts from a cut-back. Sanchez converted for 21-0. A Waratah lineout was thrown long to result in the next Jaguares try, unconverted for 26-0. Then Holloway ran a simple pick and drive to score untouched from 20 metres and the Waratahs were on the board. But, with the Waratahs hot on attack, Foley threw a long cut-out pass that was intercepted for a converted Jaguares try. 33-7.
You would think after that half that the Hurricanes had stayed in Argentina and had started playing in Jaguares shirts. The Jaguares took every opportunity offered. The Waratahs were not playing badly! Their patterns were good and they made some good breaks but just couldn’t finish off. 33-7 didn’t reflect the play, but the score is the score.
The second half was less frenetic and the Waratahs were first to score, with Rona touching down in the corner. Converted for 33-14. A Waratahs mistake on attack led to a Jaguares 80 metre run that almost added another try, Will Miller forcing a knock-on right on the line. But, after a long period of forward battling in the Waratah 22, the Jaguares scored in the corner, unconverted for 38-14.
The Waratahs then put some respectability in the score and denied the Jaguares a deserved bonus point by scoring two late tries, both converted for a final score of 38-28.
They’ll fly back to Australia wondering just how they lost this game, but the Jaguares played a blinder. Hooper put it down to not enough urgency after turnovers, but that would be to deny the Jaguares clinical finishing. They did not look like wooden spooners today.
The Waratahs scrum was better today but still dominated by the Jaguares. The lineout lost several throws which didn’t help. Ryan and Holloway ran well in the open, Wells had a good game as did Hanigan. All the backs looked sharp, with Gordon outstanding. Phipps will only return as a bench player, I predict, unless injury intervenes. Foley maintained his 100% record from the tee.
Somebody swab the entire team! They have looked awful to date, but today completely turned their form around. Creevy was excellent, Sanchez and Tuculet outstanding, but the whole team played well.
That game puts a huge hole in the Waratah hopes for the season and makes the Rebels game next Sunday a must-win. The Rebels are now nine points in front on the log and a loss by the Waratahs would see the Rebels out of sight. Despite the loss I saw a Waratah game on the improve with a lot of good player performances. On another day they would have scored a big win.
The Game Changer
After less than twenty minutes it was 21-0 and the game was basically over.
The G&GR MOTM
Creevy for his second half display, I think. Gordon for the Waratahs ran him close.
Gordon looked a Wallaby-in-waiting. I think he’ll be the Wallaby back-up to Genia by June.
Crowd: Not large, but they certainly got their money’s worth.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Boffelli (2), Tuculet, Sanchez, Delguy, Orlando
Conversions: Sanchez (4 from 6)
Tries: Holloway, Rona, Palmer, Folau
Conversions: Foley (4 from 4)
Cards & citings