Review – Waratahs break drought in wet - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Review – Waratahs break drought in wet

Review – Waratahs break drought in wet

The HSBC Waratahs broke a nine match losing streak when they beat the Melbourne Rebels 31 -26 on a wet track at Allianz Stadium. 

After being behind 16-6 at half time the Waratahs were resurgent in the second half and got to a 31-19 lead before the Rebels showed great heart in coming back and scoring a try on the bell.


The Match

Intercept - Great Scott

Intercept – Great Scott

The Waratahs started off well and Kingston nearly went in but then the Rebels took control of territory and possession for most of the rest of the half.

The Waratahs got caught in a cycle of not having possession, trying too hard to get it back, being penalised, then being pushed deep into their own half – or scored against.

At 23 minutes the Waratahs lost a man to the bin for repeated infringements and soon after Ged Robinson scampered over for a Rebel try from the front of a lineout.

At half-time the Rebels had a well-deserved scoreline of 16-6 and the Waratahs looked rudderless.

It didn’t look any better for the home team after oranges either when a Waratahs’ kick was charged down in their 22, but the Rebels couldn’t capitalise on their good work.

McKibbin on the burst

Brendan McKibbin on the burst

Then things changed: Tom Kingston was replaced, Israel Folau switched to the wing, and Ben Volovola came off the bench to play fullback, his best position.

The Waratahs’ Rubik Cube seemed to click into the right alignment and of a sudden there was a bit of passing and catching zing as they put pace on the game.  Now it was the Rebels on the back foot and getting into the same ‘series of unfortunate events’ that the Waratahs were in before the break. At 47 minutes it was their turn to get a yellow card .

And then Ryan scored

Paddy Ryan about to score

Two tries in seven minutes to Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley, and another ten minutes later to Paddy Ryan, meant that the Waratahs had five minutes to score a fourth try for a bonus point.

But it was the Rebels who finished better and Beale scored a try in the last minute of the game.

The Waratahs will know that they can’t afford to have the same bad start against the Brumbies next week as they had against the Reds and the Rebels.  They will have to improve their lineouts and restarts also

The Rebels will rue, once more, not taking all their chances when they had ascendancy.

The Game Changer

When the Waratahs bench players came on they looked like a new team.

Volavola made a noticeable impact; but Folau also switched on when he moved to the wing.


The offical MOTM was Benn Robinson and you could see why, as he had his best game for a while.

But the Gagger MOTM award goes to Ben Volavola, the catalyst.

Wallaby watch

James O’Connor was always dangerous running square to tacklers and stepping, and Kurtley Beale tried hard to lift his team despite an injured shoulder. THP Laurie Weeks stepped up for the Rebels and Michael Hooper seemed to have a twin on the ground for the Tahs.

Scrumhalves McKibbin, who set up the first Tahs try, and Phipps, looked good when their side had dominance.

The Details

Crowd:  11,206

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann

Score & Scorers

Waratahs  31
Tries:  Bernard Foley, Michael Hooper, Paddy Ryan
Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (2)
Penalties:  B. McKibbin (4)

Rebels 26
Tries:  Ged Robinson, Kurtley Beale
Conversions: James O’Connor (2)
Penalties:  James O’Connor  (4)   

Cards & citings

24 min: Tatafu Polota-Nau  (Waratahs) – Yellow card – (repeated team infringements)

47 min: Laurie Weeks (Rebels) – Yellow card – (repeated team infringements)

  • Hannah

    Don’t forget to mention it’s the refs first game tonight – he used to play for Portugal and now lives in Brisbane. Whatever you think of his game, great to get some fresh meat.

    • Lee Grant

      Was born there too.

      He went to Marist College Ashgrove, Eales’ old school, and played for the Brothers club later.

      I thought he went OK – see my remarks above about him.

      • Klaus

        Lee if he played for the Filth he can’t be OK!! ha ha

  • vic

    Ref was a fuckin joke

    • Lee Grant

      He actually looked better watching the replay than watching it live. He got a few things right that I thought he got wrong.

      The event when TPN got a card was harsh – but I’ve seen players carded for the contentious tackle that Carter did, even taking into account the circumstances. He and the TMO handled it well.

      In the first half when the play was opposite you at the ground you could see the Tahs were a step or two offside a lot – sometimes by advancing too early and sometimes just standing in front of last feet. They deserved to be pinged.

      It was much the same when the Rebels were forced to infringe when they were on the back foot after oranges.

      It’s a big step for players when they start a game for the first time in Super Rugby – and it’s the same for referees. He was more consistent than a lot of the players were.


      • Patrick

        Carter not being red carded was unbelievable. If his name was Vuna or Digby he would have got 10+weeks.

        TPN wasn’t harsh at all in context, he was about the fifth player in a row to slow down the ruck (and he had already featured in that five), in fact the one before him was probably the one that deserved a card for just rolling cynically over in front of Phipps about 30 out with the Rebels on the charge. He would have well and truly paid for it when he saw Robinson flopping over in the corner though!!

        • MrMouse

          Good name, pity you are rather clueless.
          One of the clear differences in those situations (ridiculous as they were, I might add) is that players were receiving kicks – a situation where you have no opportunity to protect yourself. Higgers knocked the ball on, then deliberately jumped into contact to retrieve it. I’d also add that ridiculous calls don’t mean that EVERYONE should suffer from ridiculous calls – just that those were bad, a la Digby.

          Regarding TPN, it was a collapsed maul and he had every right to be there, with no obligation to roll away.

      • Klaus

        For Tom Carter not to receive a card of any colour was just outright ridiculous. If it was a Reds player our luck would have been a send off and 8 Week Ban. Carter tackled him in the air dangerous, yellow card. He then tipped him on his head, dangerous Red Card or Yellow Card. The bloke didn’t even get a white card. If Higgers played it up he probably would have and I am sure if the players were reversed Carter would have rolling over the ground like he just had his head cut off, shows the level of the human. Oh and I didn’t hear Cheika bring that up in the press conference…

        • Lee Grant

          Nobody asked him a question on the matter. At press conferences they respond to questions.

    • Lee Grant

      PS I forgot to mention that there was one thing that the officials missed with regularity.

      Nic Henderson, the Rebels loosehead prop, had his hand on the ground at the start of a lot of the scrums.

      Whilst referees let such a happening slide if it is intermittent – and they should – the repitition of it should have been pinged.

    • Rookie

      I actually thought he went quite well, particularly since it was his first super rugby fixture. Hoffman is actually an ex-player – and he was a fairly handy one. He played regular premier grade rugby on the wing for Brothers in Brisbane, lots of rep footy for QLD through the age categories right up to QLD B, as well as playing international rugby for Portugal. This is just what the game needs. He’ll only get better too.

      • MrMouse

        Aah, he’s a QLDer, no wonder he hated the Tahs *removes tongue from cheek*

  • The Slow Eater

    Didn’t watch the game so only saw the highlights but can anyone explain how Rory Sidley at #12 can stand there and watch as TFN breaks through only to be tackled by Phipps???

    How is it that 2 weeks in a row the Rebels have been leading at 1/2 time only to watch it all turn to shit in the 2nd half.

    • Stin

      Think Rory Sidey plays for the Force….!

      • Stin

        No you’re right. Apologies – I’m living in the past.

  • Rex Munday

    good crowd…not

  • Brumby Runner

    LG I thought both No9s were very ordinary, but McKibbon outplayed Phipps on the night. Also thought KB had a shocker – no where near his best yet. JOC was good on attack but noticed he fell off or missed some tackles again.

    Congratulations to the Tahs for their second half. Best team performance for a long time.

    • Graeme

      I only saw from the 45 minute mark onward but I thought KB played his best (35 minutes) I’ve seen from him in years! He pulled off some important tackles, and every time he touched the ball the ‘Tahs seemed to have no idea how to contain him.

      • Lee Grant

        He was actually better in the part you missed when the Rebels had go-forward.

        In the part you saw he was either putting out fires or trying something different because nothing much was working for the Rebs then.

        Unfortunately he did a few of his little kicks that didn’t come off. Of them some didn’t bounce the right way but when they were in the air the outcome was not clear-cut.

        Away from the play you could see him favouring his bad shoulder – he’s was a brave soldier last night.



  • Johnny-boy

    An all Wallaby pack ??? The joke is out on the Wallabies and the ARU.
    The Tahs have a very big problem with another kiwi coach on the inside trying to undermine Australian rugby. Justin Marshall let it out that one of the Tahs coaches, Daryl Gibson (ex Crusader backs coach) sent him a text saying kiwi teams look amazing this year and Australian teams look crap.
    Clearly he doesnt beleive in the Tahs or australian rugby and this will surely undermine the Tah players confidence in the coaching team. Well I did warn ya. There’s a bit of a pattern here as it mirrors Deans comments last year that the Wallabies shouldn’t be scoring tries in test matches….

    • SubjectZero

      Yet another brilliant piece of biting satire, Johnny-boy! Honestly, your ability to get into the mindset of those poor souls unable to view anything about this great game outside the tiny prism of their own, uneducated bias is uncanny. My word, you’ve even found room to throw in a conspiracy theory this time around. Genius! You’ve almost fooled me on occasion, I do admit, but the unwarrantable extremes you manage to take your faux arguments to is just the wink and nudge we all need to remind us of your true intentions. Bravo, good sir, and keep up the stellar work!

      • Johnny-boy

        What a coincidence that the capital letters of your moniker match those of the Spineless Biro….another kiwi doing his best to undermine Australian rugby

        • Graeme

          No Johnny, he has a point. Your small-minded, parochial xenophobia makes me embarrassed to be associated as an Aussie. For the sake of the site could you please tone down the blatant xenophobia. Parochial Queenslander biases are one thing, everyone just has a laugh, but a lot of what you say does not belong on this site.

  • not seeing much in the press about JOC in the captaincy role, any thoughts?

    • Lee Grant

      There was a bit too much consultancy on a couple of occasions but no worse than Delve was sometimes last year on deciding what to do.

      For a first effort he was great..

    • Persona Non Grata

      JOC as captain? Surely you are kidding.

      My question is; why was he playing at 15? The real reason is because he wants to, but he should be in an attacking role. He isn’t that good a defender and he doesn’t organise the back line. My other question is when is Hill going to grow some balls and put JOCe where he should be?

      Prediction; Hill will be sacked by round 10.

      • bold prediction, i’m not advocating joc as permanent (c) but interested in how he did on the night

        • Persona Non Grata

          He wasn’t accurate enough, nor was the defence all that good, so two strikes against JOCe (joke, as if it needs to be spelt out). But foir him, the Rebels could have more than made up those five points. Even worse, he was acting captain and made those stuff-ups.

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