Tenacious Tahs Take Down Stormers

Hugh Cavill May 11, 2013 45

No GravatarThe Waratahs have recorded an impressive victory over a physical Stormers outfit, with a late Israel Folau try giving putting them on top 21-15.

The Match

Paddy on the charge

Paddy on the charge

The first half was a real arm-wrestle, with the Tahs having the bulk of possession but struggling to break through the Stormers legendary brick-wall defence. The passes weren’t sticking like they were in Port Elizabeth, with the slippery ball not helping things. Despite their endeavour the home side battled to get things moving forward, with only TPN having any real consistent impact.

The Stormers opened the scoring with a penalty to Joe Pietersen, but the Tahs hit back with the half’s only five-pointer after a corner kick to Israel Folau was tapped back into the hands of Cam Crawford. A late Brendan McKibbin penalty took the Tahs into the break with an 8-3 lead.

The second half continued where the first left off, except this time it was the Stormers with the bulk of possession. Joe Pietersen had his kicking boots on, potting three early penalties to put the Stormers in front.  Gradually the Stormers physicality was taking it’s toll, and the visitors began to get on top. The Tahs were trying, but just couldn’t get any go forward momentum – their forwards were being belted at every phase. Another Pietersen penalty took the lead out to 4 with just 15 to play.

Izzy scores the winning try

Izzy scores the winning try

However in the next ten minutes the tide began to shift yet again. The momentum the Tahs struggled to attain for so long was starting to appear. Forward runners were making headway in wider channels- in particular Douglas and TPN. After spurning a couple of kickable penalties in favour of attacking the line, the break came- a try to that man Folau after good lead-up work from the forwards and a nice delayed pass from Berrick Barnes. Barnes added the extras and the Tahs were up 18-15 with just minutes to play.

The final play was a 50m penalty kick from Barnes, which went right over the black dot to end the game with the score at 21-15 to the Waratahs.

The home side showed great composure and patience to get the chocolates in a game with test match intensity. They noticeable tightened their attack in the second half, and as a result the errors that plagued their first 40 largely disappeared. When the Stormers began to flag they took their chance, and the work done in tight was exemplary.

The lineout started very poorly, but seemed to fix itself in the second term. The scrum was an interesting battle, with both sides putting on good shoves at various times. The Tah pack certainly got on top in the last 20 though, and the scrum penalty in the 79th minute was telling and ended the Stormers chance of victory.


The Game Changer

Hard to pick just one moment, but it would have to be the decision by the Waratahs to turn down a kickable penalty in the 74th minute and kick for the corner. The resulting try not only put the Tahs in front, but probably killed any chance the Stormers had of winning.

The G&GR MOTM

TPN 100I thought the outstanding performance of the night came from Tatafu Polota-Nau. He got through a tonne of work, and was the only Waratah forward to consistently make yards with ball in hand. He beat out Kane Douglas, and the entire Stormers pack.

Wallaby watch

The big effort from TPN would not have been missed by Robbie, as well as the late steadying influence that came from Berrick Barnes. Rob Horne was a rock again in midfield, and Kane Douglas revelled in the tight, physical conditions.


The Details

Crowd: 17,042

Score & Scorers

Waratahs 21
Tries: Crawford, Folau
Conversions: Barnes
Penalties: McKibbin 2, Barnes 1

Stormers: 15
Tries:
Conversions:
Penalties: Pietersen 5

Cards & citings

None

Discussion

  • Gus

    Only 17000 through the gates is a massive disappointment for Australian and tahs rugby.

    Compared with over 30k in Brisbane to watch a reds side that had been grinding out results with fairly one dimensional rugby the last month.

    Why can’t NSW sell this team to the public?

    • dave

      reds rule – tahs drool

    • cyclopath967

      Remember Qld were pulling poor crowds when they bottomed out. They’ve been up a few seasons, the Tahs are slowly turning that corner. The crowds are getting a bit bigger each week. It will take time, in a market saturated with options.

      • Zeb

        Who are you going to support in Brisbane if you like rugby (either codes)? Broncos or Reds. Maybe the Titans.

        Who are you going to support in Sydney if you like rugby? Well there’s the Waratahs but also the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Tigers, Sharks, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Eels

        • http://www.facebook.com/james.espie James Espie

          Not to mention the Swans, Sydney FC…
          That crowd is up from 11,000 at the low point last year. There is a real problem with what I understand to be a contractual commitment to play a certain number of games at Homebush. I have gone there once for a Super rugby game. (it’s a struggle even for a test as it’s such a poor rugby ground).

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          That Homebush decision is a tough one eh? Clearly most people don’t like the place, so who ever at Tahland that made that particular decision must have thought it would help get the game to the masses and new markets.

          And who knows, maybe if the Tahs keep on going the way that they are, that decision will see decent crowds roll-up to Homebush.

          Personally though I’d much prefer to see them play all home games at the SFS & for it to become a fortress for them with large crowds in sky blue screaming their support. Likely?

        • Barbarian

          They always get bigger crowds at Homebush though. Yes that may be because they take ‘marquee’ matches out there, but the fact is that it is far more accessible for a great percentage of the sydney rugby public. I would wager that next week against the Brumbies draws 25+.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Here’s hoping that you’re right. I want the Tahs to succeed on & off the paddock.

          Actually when I visit Sydney, Homebush is way more accessible for me too. It’s just that I prefer the SFS (atmosphere, size, places to go to before and after the game) and am prepared to trudge about to get there.

        • Gus

          What are you wagering. Ill take the under…

        • MM

          Two afl teams and two soccer teams as well as the mungo teams….lots to do and lots to follow in Australia’s premier city. My ticket cost $65, its furken expensive and a luxury. If your team’s winning the bucks don’t hurt so much but you don’t want to be paying that kind of money to see them play crap rugby and lose.

    • SubjectZero

      The media and PR crew at Waratahs HQ went MIA in recent years, with the team being the invisible men of the NSW sporting landscape, something that can be ill afforded with the saturation of NRL coverage here. Combine that with the type of rugby that was being played between 2009-12 and you get a clearer understanding of why they’re still wiping the blood off the walls after the bullet hit the foot.

      Crowd numbers have steadily increased this season, which is a reflection of the new culture being formed and the resulting playing style, as well as increased exposure of the team through better managed public appearances and social media use. The pleasing thing is that the crowds, while smaller, have been much more vocal than in previous years. It wont be long before we’re seeing 30,000+ at the SFS again, so long as Cheika is left alone to finish what he’s started.

    • MoveTheTahsback2Paddo

      problem i think is this – the NSWRU keep saying that all the numbers are out west, but thats the playing pool only i reckon – its not those who want to go to the stadium and watch the match – If the home matches were relocated back to paddington then you would have 20 000+ every match. They just dont get it.
      anyways – sure I’ll get those that disagree but it aint working and its been going on for 10 years now hasnt it ? – move em back to paddo

      • http://www.facebook.com/manpageman Roland Chan

        Huh? The home matches are at Paddington bar 2

      • MM

        I drove down from the Blue Mountains last night to watch the game at SFS – 2 hours and right past the olympic stadium. I’ve never been to a game at that stadium, I like the inner city games because you can get a good meal after the game (sip some chardy) and have a good night out – not possible at Homebush. I don’t believe the Olympic park deal was ever done because “that’s where the crowds are”, I think they might have been made an offer that was too good to refuse. I’d rather see the SFS filled than a one third filled Olympic stadium. It will be good to see it filled for the warpaths Lions game. In spite of there only being 17,000 there last night the atmosphere was still pretty good and certainly getting better (for a Waratahs crowd).

        Skelton had a big impact for the time he was on. A couple of huge tackles, a solid line out win and he single handedly destroyed a Stormers line out by mauling the ball from Bekker. It was right in front of me and he muscled his way through the stormers pack to get his hands on the ball and forced the turnover, he’s a huge a unit. As someone else said if he has the conditioning Timani won’t be missed, and he can jump.

        Foley had an off night. The one kick I’ve ever seen Folau execute was inch perfect.

        • Yabba88

          Within 3 kms of Olympic park there is are restaurant strips at Concord, North Strathfield and Burwood that crap on anything in Paddington. Near Flemington station there are some of the best Asian restaurants in Australia. Majors Bay Rd, Concord is like King St in Newtown.

        • MM

          Not within walking distance though, that’s whats good about the SFS. Find a parking spot and its all there, on foot, and I know they’re open late.

  • http://twitter.com/meatsack Jon Nunan

    Nice to see Skelton go to the Tahs pack he helped outweigh a couple years ago as a schoolboy. He hit rucks & packed down well, if he has the endurance the Tahs won’t miss the Timani’s as much next year.

  • http://twitter.com/rosscosmart Ross Smart

    @gus to be fair crowd numbers are only just starting to trend upwards after years of disservice on the pitch.. but it’s a fair point you make. That said, what say you about the 16k that fronted in Canberra last week on a Sunday afternoon to watch the high flying brumbies v the crusaders?

    • USARugger

      Population of ACT – ~325,000

      Population of Sydney – ~4,627,000

      • http://cycloschat.wordpress.com/ Cyclopath

        Other teams to follow in Canberra…???? Raiders. Different sizes, different markets though.

      • MM

        Another thing to bag the tahs and their supporters about, we lost the – “crowd thing” whatever that may be. fcuk!!!!

    • Piggy

      Parliament isn’t sitting at the moment either, so the only the ones left in Canberra are those that can’t afford to leave…

  • Nick

    Some of the most encouraging stuff was to see the players watching from the bench really caring about what happened on the field… seems there’s a genuine team culture there. Makes you think it’s a blessing not to have three amigos, noshirt etc. around…

  • cyclopath967

    I thought Horne and AAC made a great brick wall combo, and AAC looked dangerous at times. Horne made some good metres towards the end. A good combo for the Tahs.

    • SubjectZero

      Yes, liking Horne more as 12 than a 13, though it will be interesting to see what happens when Jono Lance arrives next year. Interesting times ahead in the Waratahs’ midfield.

    • Mart

      AAC’s defense this season has been tremendous

    • Jimmy

      AAC was my MOM – he is playing seriously well against quality opposition.

    • http://ihaveissu.es Christian Biggins

      AAC looked FAST too. He seemed to have more toe than usual. He had a cracker of a game.

    • Big Ted

      AAC is in close to career best form. Shows what leaving him at 13 for a while can do. I must say, 12 months ago I never wanted to see the Horne Bag in Gold again, and LiLo is still my pick for wallaby 12. But if Dingo does want a defensive bash and barge merchant with good defence, I’d be looking at Horne over McCabe. AAC and Horne do seem to be clicking quite well together, especially in defence

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.grouse Alan Grouse

    That Skelton monster made a good impact when he came on, he looks promising. Lucas also added quite a bit more speed then Mckibbon and Izzy continues to look the goods in taking his chance and contributing well throughout. Nice to see the lineout woes of a few weeks back dissipate and also to see the bench exerting an influence.

    TPN showed us that when he doesn’t knock himself out he can be a menace to the opposition. Cemented the wallaby no.2 hooker spot i think.

    Just great to see the team back themselves instead of opting for the 3 pointers. Stormers defence (when onside) is a sight to behold though

    • Who?

      I thought Skelton and Lucas both offered more when they came on than Barnes did. Lucas, if he can continue in the vein he found on Saturday night, is leaps and bounds ahead of both McKibbin and Phipps. His direction to his pack was excellent, his pass was crisp, and it was delivered from the base of the ruck, not two steps backwards and maybe a few sideways. And if Palu and Timani can shift bodies, then what did Skelton do?! Combine that with Ryan replacing Kepu, and it’s no surprise the Tahs scrum improved through the match.

  • Old weary

    These guys looked they knew they could win. The mentality in the final ten is something that we haven’t seen for sometime, and very excited to see this sort of culture now flow into the WB’s vs the poisonous defeatist culture that seemed to be too present last year.

    Getting very excited for the Lions and tri-nations

    • ben

      Trinations? Its now the championship. Theres 4 teams.

      • Timbo

        Leave him alone. he’s old and weary. I forget every now and then and i’m young and sparkly.

  • Bay35Pablo

    No, the crowd number have collapsed this year. They were better last year but dropping each year. Still haven’t topped 20k this year but seems like might be slowly recovering as cheika’s style clearly takes and wins come. I think this game earlier in season would have gotten several thousand less. Brumbies & reds at home bush real test. Lots of fans hate home bush.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I’m loving the improvement in the Tahs and the fans.

      I’m going to go back and watch the tape again just to see that sea of sky blue on the pitch after the match. On TV it looked absolutely fantastic. Must have been great to have been there and soak it all up.

      I was predicting more than 17,000 but fully understand that some fans are yet to be convinced, while others are simply lost forever. Still and all, I reckon if that was an afternoon match, we may well have seen 20 plus along there. Or am I dreaming?

      Bay were you at the game? How’s the crowd developing? Are they getting more vocal or are you still getting odd looks for yelling and carrying on like a Rugby Fan?

      Hard to judge the crowd on the tele but I think I detected a few ‘ooh…ahhs’ at key moments, and support when Dennis turned down the 3 points at the end there. But I could well be delusional.

      • MM

        It was a good and involved crowd Bill – lots of oohs and aaahs for the big collisions, went a bit quiet when the stormers took the lead which is the wrong time to go quiet. Its still all a bit uptight though, we’re re-learning. Those looong time wasting scrum sets and resets are a blight. I think they need to look at a time limit introduced on them. If the a team isn’t ready to pack within a time limit its a short arm against them.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Cheers mate for that ‘report from the ground’. Seems I’m not totally delusional then.

          Agree that our fans need to come into play when we need them most.

          Maybe the Waratah management could run a sort of educational video on the big screen to show how fans elsewhere carry-on, and then challenge them to do likewise.

          If it were a Fan-a-thon, I’d rate Reds fans as most vocal with the Rebels and Brumbies an impressive second. Sadly we are behind the Western Force but hopefully improving with better things to come. ;-)

        • DMac

          While we’re at it, time to enforce a time limit on kicks at goal. The stormers were ridiculous last night. I know there’s a nominal 1 min limit but its never enforced. I timed it last night and it was never less than 75 secs. Make it 45 secs, enforce it, and stop the clock. It takes all the steam out of the game.

  • Piggy

    The loss of Vermeulen and Elstadt hurt the Stormers in the last 10 to 15 minutes… wonder if they’ll be back in two weeks… (hope not)…

  • Blackmark

    Another shocker from Timani & little go forward from Palu. Both very over rated.
    Horne & AAC continue to build into a formidable partnership.
    Douglas and TPN were immense (TPN would be MOM most games if he didn’t knock himself out so often).

    Foley tried hard but today we needed the influence of Barnes. Great to have both players in the squad as there will always be a Plan B option.

    I must say Dennis is really growing as a leader and it is making him a better player (much like Higginbothom at Rebels).

    I think we are at the point now were the debate abot Folau is over.

    • Jimmy

      Palu actually had a cracker – he controlled the Stormers imposing back 3. Watch the game again

    • MM

      And I thought Timani was actually going to permanently damage, if not kill someone. Talk about “shifting rocks”. All this talk about the Stormers tough defense but there were some damaged bodies there, and they weren’t in blue.

  • Older I get, the Better I Was

    8 minutes to go and the old fella’s in Bay 34 were in need of a resuscitator. The tension was exhausting. The Horlix had gone tepid, my shingles were itching like a dog with fleas.

    Then, Captain Dennis went for the touchline and the lineout. The same lineout that had faltered earlier when the old bastards in Bay 34 offered the referee unheeded advice.

    We called for another rum – for medicinal purposes. Just to settle the nerves. 15 men united. Folau finished it for them. Teamwork. Fantastic.

    A minute to go, a scrum on half way. Sir, another rum.
    What a scrum. 8 men. All 8. 3 front rowers. The shrill sound of the whistle. Our deaf referee pointed his arm in our direction. ‘Kick the fxxxxing thing out!’

    Captain Dennis pointed at the sticks. The rum was settling the nerves but the voice box was failing.

    Sookface lined up. Over it went. Too many rums. We were as blind as a welder’s dog.

    The old boys of Bay 34 needed a Bex and a lie down.

  • Nelse

    The stormers defence was brutal. There was one set of phases in the second half where I don’t think the waratahs made a metre. Being at the game, looking at the stormers defence, they’d obviously done their homework on the Tahs. There was only one player hanging back during this set. Usually the winger on the opposite side to the play dropping back and no sweeper. This meant essentially there were 14 men in the line, maybe 13. They knew the Waratahs would try keep ball in hand.
    Despite the harsh protestations of the crowd, when Barnes came on and put in a couple of kicks in behind, it disrupted their defence more than most things that had been done all night. I think it caused enough disruption that when they did keep the ball in hand suddenly they were able to make metres to get in the position to get those penalties and subsequent try. I might be wrong, but that’s at least how I saw it.

    Cracker of a game though

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