The Tahs served up a steaming pile of rubbish to their loyal fans, losing 26-24 to the lowly Kings. They were outenthused, outcoached, outplayed.
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair, as you would probably expect from to cellar-dwelling sides. There was a lot of dropped ball, though you couldn’t fault the attacking endeavour shown by either side.
The Waratahs opened the scoring through Taqele Naiyarovoro, with the big unit finishing nicely in the corner after a Bernard Foley cross-kick was poorly handled by the Kings.
Israel Folau was looking good early, finding space on a number of occasions. He was integral in the Tahs second try, a magnificent end-to-end effort which was started by a Folau break, and finished expertly by Rob Horne.
The Kings were making headway but couldn’t get on the scoreboard, while the Tahs were riding their luck. The third try was a prime example, with Foley pilfering an intercept on his own line, with the Kings looking at a certain try if the pass went to hand. Foley offloaded to Cameron Clark, who ran 90m to score and put the Tahs up by 17.
A yellow card to Ned Hanigan opened the door for the visitors, and they scored just before half time through big prop Justin Forwood after a charged-down Foley kick. They almost had a second but the TMO spotted a knock-on, getting the Tahs out of jail and into the sheds up 17-7.
The visitors momentum continued in the second half, with Masixole Banda opening the scoring after some poor Waratahs handling. The Waratahs were hanging on grimly at this point.
A careless high tackle from Christopher Cloete resulted in a yellow card, letting the home side back into the game. But they just dropped the ball again. And again. And then gave away a penalty.
The Kings rolling maul was almost unstoppable, and they registered their third try soonafter to hooker Michael Willemse. A Lionel Cronje conversion and they were in the lead.
Another series of loose carries and penalties from the Waratahs gave the Kings an attacking scrum, from which they were awarded a penalty try.
Taqele scored a try after the siren to salvage a bonus point, but no-one really cared by then.
It’s one of the worst performances I’ve seen from the Waratahs. They’ve fallen so far in just two years, it’s hard to imagine exactly what has gone so wrong. Sure, they’ve lost a lot of good players, and a good coach too. But they’re hardly a cast of no-names. And in Foley and Hooper they have two of Australia’s best players.
Their performance tonight was arrogant. Turning down kickable penalties (even when the game was close in the second half), throwing stupid passes, not respecting the ball. They thoroughly deserved to lose.
The Kings also deserved to win. They played with an enthusiasm and an intensity that was truly remarkable. They came to play, and the Tahs did not. The Kings line speed was fantastic, pressuring the Tahs into mistakes. Their set piece was dominant, and they looked far better drilled than the home side.
If you took a drink every time Clarkie said ‘loose carry’ you’d be on the floor before half time. Seriously, is it that hard to catch the ball? Two hands out, watch it into your palms, bob’s your uncle. I reckon there was at least 25 careless knock-ons in that game. What a disgrace.
I really can’t be bothered writing any more. Not only tonight, but this season. Who really cares about this mob? At least play with some passion, some enthusiasm. I can take losing when the opposition are better than you, as the Kings were tonight. But to be so out-enthused, so out-coached, it’s just embarrassing. I don’t want to be anywhere near them until they show me something, anything. Just a bit of passion. Just 14 blokes showing they have the heart and drive of Michael Hooper, even for one game.
The Game Changer
When the Tahs pulled on their jerseys and said “let’s disappoint the few fans we have left, who stupidly parted with their hard-earned cash to come and watch us play”.
The G&GR MOTM
The Kings forward pack was just outstanding. I’ll give it to Michael Willemse, though Justin Forwood and Tyler Paul also had big games.
Bernard Foley was one of the few Tahs who wasn’t a complete embarrasment. Tom Robertson‘s stock nosedived though after a fairly inept display. Israel Folau had something of a return to form, though he was anonymous in the second half.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Forwood, Bande, Willemse, Penalty Try
Conversions: Cronje 3
Tries: Naiyaravoro 2, Horne, Clark
Conversions: Foley 2
Cards & Citings
Hanigan (repeated infringements), Cloete (high tackle)
Irrelevant. They won’t be back.