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

Review: Waratahs v Stormers

Review: Waratahs v Stormers

Conditions were great for rugby and we saw a really exciting game, albeit with lots of mistakes. This match see-sawed back and forth all night till the 81st minute, when the Stormers finally gave the Waratahs a get-out-of jail free card with a lineout overthrow that Hanigan finished in the corner.

The Match


Beale was the first to star, almost scoring in the corner from a chip kick. The second scrum resulted in a penalty to the Stormers, a problem that would continue all night. Then the Stormers chip kicked to Folau (why would you?) and then Foley kicked downfield. Staniforth collapsed a maul, and there were a flood of little mistakes that stopped the Waratah momentum. Kolisi made an intentional knock on that Gardiner ruled penalty only, a decision he continued to make all night. Foley kicked the penalty, Waratahs 3-0. The Stormers kicked off deep to Wells and then flooded the tackle which resulted in a turnover. Kitshoff picked up and ran 5 metres to score his first Super try. Stormers 7-3.

Then a piece of Folau magic. From the Waratah kickoff, the Stormers cleared to Foley who hoisted it heavenwards. Folau runs through, jumps to take it and runs to the tryline untouched. Now, its Waratahs 10-7. Then the Stormers get a penalty under the posts and even it up 10-10. After an attacking period riddled with errors, Hooper manages to run 5 metres to score. Foley converts, 17-10. The Stormers replied with a chip kick try in the corner. Conversion good, 17-17. The contest continued to half time without further score, but plenty of excitement and mistakes.

Jake Gordon is all smiles.

Jake Gordon is all smiles.


Throughout the first half the Waratah scrum had been under worsening pressure. But the second half started brightly, with a good run from Rona, then a knock-on turnover, Stormers knock on , a wobbly chip kick pass from Beale to Rona who ran and then passed to Fitzpatrick to score in the corner. Converted, 24-17. Foley made a good run back from the kickoff, but Beale knocked on. From the scrum Robinson conceded a penalty. Lineout 5 metres out, Hooper spoils but knocks on. Oh-oh: scrum. Carr ran from the back and Folau held him up over the line. Scrum, Robertson collapses and gets an overdue final warning. At the next scrum Carr runs from 8, passes to Marais for a try under the posts. 24-24.

Execution from both sides was poor though both showed real intent. From a lineout Simmons drove too early and got a yellow card. So much for his valuable experience leading the newcomers, now the scrum is one man down with Foketi going to the flank. From a scrum close out Wells some how picked up under enormous pressure, Stormers went offside and the Waratahs gained some relief.

From a holding-on penalty, Beale almost scored with a miracle chip regather but the TMO couldn’t see a grounding. Foley kicks a penalty goal as they had previous advantage. 27-24. The Stormers reply with their own penalty, 27-27. Multiple replacements for both sides saw Newsome, Palmer and Holloway on, Vui too and later Johnson-Holmes. There was movement back and forth, huge excitement with no one leaving early. Then in the last 5 minutes the Waratahs attacked cotinuously, but either they stuffed it up or the Stormers defended heroically.

Then disaster for the Stormers. In the 80th minute they won a lineout near their line, overthrew it and the Waratahs recovered the ball and Hanigan scored in the corner. Foley converted and it finished 32-27!

Exciting? Yes but for fans of both teams there will be extreme nervousness about the games ahead. The Stormers have the Crusaders and the Waratahs the Sharks next week. Both will be a huge challenge unless they improve 100%.

Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale


There were plenty of positives. The Waratah backs were good in the open, the forwards OK. Kurtley was everywhere, Folau was fabulous in the first half, Foketi looked at home and made a couple of good runs, Foley was excellent and kicked straight, Gordon had a blinder. The whole team never stopped trying and Wells, Hooper, Holloway and Fitzpatrick were the pick of the forwards.

There were plenty of negatives: Both props were awful, Robertson especially and the scrum was monstered. The forwards in their carries were not running onto the ball, but instead were often flat-footed. The locks were poor. There were far too many errors – the Waratahs could have won by plenty but they continually got into good positions and then made mistakes.

I don’t understand why Hegarty was brought on, it just disrupted the flow. The two finishing props were not great, but for twenty year olds they were better than Ryan and Robertson. Thank God Kepu is back next week.


Like last week, the Stormers could not put away a team making lots of errors. This week it really cost them. They appear to be a mid-table side from their two matches so far and need to do better at the unstructured side of the game. And the last two minutes will be a recurring nightmare for their hooker, who probably won’t sleep for days.

The Waratahs celebrate a Michael Hooper try.

The Waratahs celebrate a Michael Hooper try.

The Game Changer

You had to wait for the 81st minute for the game-changer. Up till then the game had gone back and forth with neither team able to put their foot on the other’s throat.


Although he made some errors, Beale was absolutely freakish in some of the things he did and wins my MotM. Foley was very good as was Gordon, who I did not see put one foot wrong in 80 minutes.

Wallaby watch

Too early in the season to discuss yet, but Gordon put his hand up.

The Details

Crowd: Unknown

Score & Scorers

Waratahs 34
Tries: Folau, Hooper, Fitzpatrick, Hanigan.
Conversions: Foley 4
Penalties: Foley 2
Stormers: 27
Tries: Kitshoff, van Dyk, Marais
Conversions: Marais 3
Penalties: Marais 2

Cards & citings

Yellow: Simmons

  • onlinesideline

    Have only seen the highlights but my first thoughts are this – and this is a bit helicopter and philosophical for round 1 but it amazes me how every year the pre season prep gets more focused, more mental edged, correcting the attitudinal sleepiness of the previous year and each year the next set of humans learn from mistakes of previous year. Its lke a metaphor for ones own life and how clarity of the mind and the constant refining of ones life decison making and priorities is a never ending quest.

    Thats is all, carry on people.

  • Pedro

    I’m not saying Gordon played badly but he really needs to run it from the base. That’s his greatest strength and he never tries it at super level.

    Beale dropping a touched pass with the line at his mercy was pretty terrible. It wasn’t the easiest of balls but he was under no pressure.

    Tahs defense was mostly good.

    It was bizarre that after having set piece dominance for the majority of the match the Stormers conceded a tight head and lost their own lineout to seal the match.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Disagree a little about Gordon’s running the ball being stronger than his disposals. His ability to swing it quickly and accurately out the back is simply dangerous. When he runs it from the base, it’s unexpected which makes it such a threat. And he’s always there to find a hole to slip through. A great runner but a top-class disposer; left and right.
      He’ll start in a Wallabies jersey soon.

      • Pedro

        He didn’t run it all though did he?

        • Stin

          He’s keeping them guessing. It’s a long season! But seriously the Stormers ruck defence was good. We didn’t have any stable scrums for scoots from there. Great pass on both sides though, unlike the guy outside him.

    • Braveheart81

      In terms of Beale dropping the pass that Lleyds tipped, I think you’re underestimating how difficult it is to catch that at full pace when it takes a deflection a fraction of a second before it gets to him.

      It’s somewhat baffling that it was only given a scrum to the Waratahs. Lleyds was never in a position to intercept that, just stuck out his hand to block the ball and it stopped a certain try. If you were ever going to give a yellow card and a penalty try for a deliberate knock-on, that was it.

      • Dally M

        Yeah, what was with that? 2 deliberate knock downs, a no-arms tackle & not one yellow card.

        Has the been a new directive on those or was Angus just really lenient on the Stormers?

      • Pedro

        I take your point, but it was definitely catchable and he’d stepped off the gas for the return pass.

        I must admit I think the deliberate knock on rule is too harsh on the defense which is generally just sticking their hand out instinctively for a miracle intercept rather than cynically knocking it down. I think the first one was a penalty at most I really think the player thought he had a chance of reeling it in. The second one I only saw through the lens and I’d need a second look to decide on way or the other. It’s definitely a rule that needs some clarification, maybe the answer is to just give penalty tries (not necessarily with a yellow) for any suspect knock on ten metres out.

      • Seaweed

        Yeah, for me that was a straight up penalty and hence penalty try. Strange decision.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I didn’t see the game but read that players will not be shifting around in D but are expected to tackle their opposite and who ever else comes their way.

      With that in mind, can I ask how KB went in the tackling department? I’ve seen him do a few ball and all tackles, and then other times he’s been atrocious. So is he better after his time in the UK?

      • Pedro

        I didn’t notice kb’s defence so it must have been decent.

      • Huw Tindall

        88% tackle success from the Tahs which is a big improver on last year. Can’t remember seeing KB fluff any tackles and to his credit he cleaned out the breakdown on the last phase before the Hanigan try!

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          thanks gents. My hope is that our guys will get the D sorted out instead of shifting players about to cover their weakness in defence. Far less disruption and everyone’s set like jelly if there’s a quick turn over and we’re suddenly on attack.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Hey fellow GAGR’s, well just managed to watch the replay of this game after returning from my sunday morning ride (yes I am one of those old men in Lycra, I have to do something not to be a fat old bastard). My Points in no particular order:
    – Well done to the Waratahs, they hung in there and were there to capitalise at the end.
    – Stormers error at the end was a total brain snap when they had such set piece dominance.
    – Waratah scrum is not looking good at all. They need Kepu back asap. Robertson is a dead set liability.
    – Beale, wow, brilliance, then OMG that was bad in two mins. It is staggering he can go from diamonds to stone in 30 secs.
    – After the season that the Wallabies had, and all of the other Super teams had, you think that skills, skills, skills would be the mantra at all the teams. BUt the Waratahs like the Reds, and sometimes the Rebels, demonstrated that they are rusty, and their skills are lacking. Last nights game had some serious skills deficiencies across the board.
    – Good to see that Symons has demonstrated his ability to pull cards has not diminshed.

    Overall it was an entertaining but frustrating game to watch.

  • Fatflanker

    Thrilled to see the Tahs get up. You’d barely fit a cigarette paper between these two teams in overall quality of performance and a draw would have been a fair outcome. That Tah scrum is shaping to be a fatal liability.

    • Simon

      Kepu’s return will help the scrum a lot but I think Robertson really needs to put down his books and spend more time on the weights. I’d shift Ryan back to loosehead until Robertson can do a Slipper and put on 10kg of muscle.

      • Andy

        You know there’s a massive issue when Paddy Ryan switching sides will “improve” the scrum!

        Tolu and Kepu back in will help the scrum no end. Even Holloway at the back will provide a bit more grunt.

        • Dangerous Dave

          Anyone agree the stormers front row weren’t playing fair?

        • Fatflanker

          What was it you saw? Wouldn’t be the first time the pack with the bigger reputation tried it on but TBH it looked like the Tahs were just getting monstered to me, (although let the records show the Tahs took a tighthead…dunno how that happened).

        • Dangerous Dave

          We saw one the front row “waste time” with his boot at the end according to the ref which summed up the attitude to me.
          When the stormers didn’t have field position the scrum was even.
          Probably the ex tahs commentators influencing me.

        • Nutta

          Nah, they went after each of Robbo and Paddy in-turn early on and did a good job of it to. They made a conscious decision early on to put an image in the Refs mind and let it settle until they really needed to exploit it. You even saw after the 5 or 6th scrum that Paddy went to Robbo to talk through and poor Robbo just waved him away under the “Nah, it’s fkd so just leave it’ philosophy. Full credit to the Stormers for doing so. It’s good play on their part. I actually thought they were hard done by to not get yellow cards out of it in the 2nd half to reward their dominance.

        • Dangerous Dave

          Is the whole scrum to blame or just 1,2 and 3?

        • Nutta

          Scrummage is an 8 man gig. But it’s up to the 1&3 to transfer your pressure to them and deflect theirs. It doesn’t matter how good your 1&3 are if your back5 are not committed. But likewise it doesn’t matter how committed your back5 are if your 1&3 are shite at transferring their power.

          In this case, it rests squarely on the 1&3. The back3 weren’t Meercatting and whilst the Tarts Locks aren’t phenomenal, they were committed and didn’t look to be splitting away from each other until the scrum was well-shot already.

        • Generally the Tahs scrum got pantsed. But Gus penalised them once for collapsing just on reputation, when if you look closely you’ll see it was the Stormers who went down first. And there was the tight head at the end that led to them winning the game. So, it was not all totally bad, just 90% bad.

      • onlinesideline

        naturally strong props lose weight not gain weight. I always say if you have to bulk up to be a prop you are really a fat flanker.

        • Nutta

          Old school stuff: my brother and I have a long-running competition on who in the Tarts pack would make you take a deep breath or two before scrumming? Ewen McKenzie, Richard Loe, Dan Crowley type stuff. It’s been a long time since I bought a beer over that. Last time was Fat Cat I think. Speaks for itself.

          Weights: Back when I played for real the expectation was bench 150% your bodyweight and squat 200% your bodyweight. So when it comes down to raw strength then it’s pretty simply in the pecs of the bigger man (1.5 x 130kg man is bigger than 1.5 x 110kg man). However being able to use that strength whilst in a fkd-up body-shape is what counts and that’s why I believe that smaller-statued props are always more effective with their shorter levers especially now we have de-powered the scrum hit. Once we moved away from the 3-part to the 4-part call in the early 2000’s it favoured the big man who would smash in straight and power-on or simply drop it and start again. Now with the pre-bind, it’s almost back to the early 90’s when we first went to the 3-part call and the smaller/broader man has the advantage once the scrums have met and the wrestling/angling begins.

          Dude I’ve said for years we spend too much time picking in the gym and not enough time picking on the paddock. I know it’s not ‘scientific and stuff’ but years ago I was lucky enough to be picked for Country after a 3-day, 3-game carnival in Parkes in amazing heat held in early March. I asked the Coach (a pretty dry old sheep-farmer from behind Cowra) what was the basis of my selection (looking for strengths and weaknesses to work on). His comment always stuck with me: ‘You kept going. The others didn’t. That wins matches.’

        • Mica

          Love the truth and simplicity of your coach’s response. No BS should be every coach’s mantra.

        • Simon

          Yeah I’d prefer 150kg trained down to 130kg, although I maintain that for a prop of his size (107kg according to the Tahs’ site), adding 10kg of muscle is far better that not adding it. Slipper got down to about Robertson’s size by the time he blew his ACL, and that was the worst season I’ve ever seen him play. It’s just too small for this level.

          I’d be interested to know if there are any lighter props playing Super Rugby currently. I suspect Robertson is the lightest by a fair margin. The average for looseheads seems to be about 115kg, for tightheads 120ish.

          Might be time to give Matt Sandell a go. He’s been in the squad for a couple of years now and I think he’s had one bench spot where he didn’t get on – Paddy Ryan played the whole 80.

  • Donk

    Fairly rough start from the tahs. Showed much better fitness than last year to come from behind. Can’t wait to see Jack Dempsey, Kepu and Latu back. The pack desperately need some go forward so the backs can have some space. I think they were largely out muscled by the Stormers.

  • Pclifto

    Kepu not back until Round 4… bugger.

    We really lacked punch in the forwards, the Tahs missed Kepu, Dempsey and Latu.

    Plenty of work still to do

    • Huw Tindall

      Kepu is arguably the most valuable player in the Tahs side after Folau. Good props are worth their weight in gold. About 120kg of gold. It seems Latu though has been left out not through injury but just Gibson’s selections. He had such a great start to 2017 it’s hard to understand why he has fallen out of form and/or favour. Would really add value with his scrum and ruck work to this Tahs pack.

      Keen to see Jed Holloway start of Wells at 8 as well. In his 15 mins looked good including a storming run at the end to help setup the Hanigan try. Wells was serviceable, was busy, took a lot of kick offs, and I think got a turnover, but not blockbuster. After two cracking NRCs in 2016 and 17 plus glimpses of form last year before injury I hope Holloway can step up.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Well I got that pick wrong. Mind you I also picked the Canes to win so I’m on a hiding to nothing. Too many mistakes for either side to be happy but can’t argue with a win. The Tahs backline is looking good but the forwards need to step up big time. I’m still not sold on the defence of the Tahs and I think a slicker team will show them up. Still a good first up win so on the right track.

  • Mattchoo

    Not a comment on the game from me but an insight into the damage done last season.
    Turned up in our usual seats to greet the people who regularly sit around us. We really enjoy the chats, catch ups about family, life, rugby etc. Guess what? They’ve not renewed! These are long term supporters who have obviously just given up their membership! I’m very sorry to lose that connection with people I’d happily have in my home any time. I missed the last two home games in 2017 due to complete disgust with the Tahs. Obviously some “rusted on” supporters have just given up completely. I can’t blame them but when they give it away – we are in deep trouble. My thoughts after the game itself – a get out of gaol (that spelling looks weird these days) win which does not inspire confidence for the season. Every team knows exactly where to attack us from now on unless Simon Cron can work miracles with our forwards. Here’s hoping! BTW, good to see your still here Blinky!

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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