Waratahs survive Sunwolves scare - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Waratahs survive Sunwolves scare

Waratahs survive Sunwolves scare

The Waratahs have scrapped a 31-30 win over the Sunwolves in what was an unconvincing performance from the boys in blue. The match was an open contest in which both teams let the ball fly throughout the hands, with the Waratahs seemingly the more impressive team with ball in hand in the first half.

However, the Waratahs were ill-disciplined in defence, allowing some soft penalties in their own half which kept the Sunwolves in the contest throughout the match. This was coupled with lazy defence in periods which put the Japanese side in a perfect position to win the match, which they ultimately should of, with Hayden Parker missing a field goal 20 metres out, right in front to allow the Waratahs to escape with the win.

All in all, a less than impressive performance from the Waratahs who will feel like they stole victory in a match which they were expected to trounce and need to do some serious soul searching in the bye week before they take on the Reds.

The Match

The Waratahs started the match strongly, breaking the Sunwolves initially with a nice intercept from Jack Dempsey positioning them in the Sunwolves half. They looked certain to score when Foley found Curtis Rona on the wing, however, he was stopped on the try-line by a solid cover tackle by the Sunwolves winger Masirewa.

The first points of the match would soon come when a set piece play saw Rob Simmons threw a perfect pass…into the hands of Ryoto Nakamura who ran 70 metres before handing it off to Gerhard van den Heever to put the Sunwolves up 7-0.

The Waratahs would respond immediately with Kurtley Beale snatching a muffed kick from Shane Gates on the play after the restart to level the contest at 7-7.

For the 2nd week in a row, the Waratahs seemed to struggle at scrum time, conceding a penalty right on the Sunwolves goal line and a further penalty placed the Japanese side in perfect range for their sharpshooting Kiwi flyhalf Hayden Parker to put the Sunwolves back in front 10-7.

The Waratahs looked impressive with ball in hand in the first half, especially Israel Folau, who was dangerous whenever he touched the ball. Folau would proceed to take over the match, crossing the line twice in 10 minutes after two great runs and passes from Karmichael Hunt, with his second try being the most impressive after beating three Sunwolves. Foley would continue his kicking woes from last week, missing both conversions to leave the score at 17-10.

Despite their dominance in attack, it would be the Sunwolves who would lead at the end of the half after Tom Rowe broke some lazy Waratah defence to put the Sunwolves up 20-17 after an earlier Parker penalty goal.

Bernard Foley on the loop

Bernard Foley on the loop


The Waratahs would continue to be hampered by a lack of discipline at the start of the second half, with Parker’s boot extending the Sunwolves lead lead out to 23-17.

However, their class with ball in hand would show as Jack Dempsey continued his strong return from injury, driving over the line after some nice patience in attack which saw him score after 16 phases. Foley would put the NSW side in front after seeming to find his kicking boots at half time, nailing the conversion from the sideline to put them up 23-22

The match would turn into a grinding encounter after this try, with both teams enjoying time attempting to break over the advantage line, although a lack of ball control would stifle any real opportunities for points.

The Waratahs would finally break through after constant pressure on the back of a refreshing attitude change that saw them back their forwards and their line out, which somehow ended up as a nine-man lineout include Folau and Ashley-Cooper. This would result in multiple penalties to the men in blue and ultimately a penalty try and a yellow card to Luke Thompson.

This should have sealed the game, however, the Waratahs, as they seem to do far too often, let the Sunwolves back into the contest after some lazy passages of defence saw Van den Heever cross for his second to put the Sunwolves within one.

The last 10 minutes of this match has aged myself (and I suspect the majority of Waratahs fans) at least 5 years, with the Sunwolves having multiple attacks on the Waratahs goal-line. The final moments of the match saw the Sunwolves position themselves in front of the posts, before Parker made his first mistake of the game with the boot, missing the attempt at the drop goal after strong pressure from Hunt, giving the Waratahs the win 31-30.

The Turning Point

This match was up in the air until the end with no one real turning point. However, the consistent pressure from the Waratahs forwards on the Sunwolves line to earn the penalty try and the pressure from Karmichael Hunt on the drop kick attempt from Parker to win the match the key moments of the match.

The GAGR MOTM

Toss up between Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt for Man of the Match, both were excellent with the ball in hand and the Waratahs must look to get both involved more to improve their performances. Hunt was especially crucial in putting pressure on the last minute drop goal, although some poor defensive choices, especially for Van den Heever’s second try, means I couldn’t make him the outright choice.

Wallaby Watch

Most of the Wallaby contingency played some solid football at periods, still plenty to improve on in terms of discipline and defence. Jack Dempsey continues to look strong in his return from a hamstring injury and did his hopes of a shot at a gold jersey no harm.

Result

Sunwolves 30

Tries: van den Heever 2, Rowe

Cons: Parker 2

Pens: Parker 3

Yellow card: Thompson (63’)

Waratahs 31

Tries: Folau 2, Beale, Dempsey, Penalty Try

Cons: Foley 2

  • Gun

    The Tahs are an easy team not to like.

    • Hoss

      Amen

  • Adrian

    Excellent summary Nathan

    As a NSW supporter I was going to say arrogant, lazy, complacent etc,..but “sucked in” says it all.

    I reckon there will be lots of scrum practice in the break

    • Nathan Williamson

      Looked like a team that saw the odds and thought they already won, if it was me I wouldn’t let the forwards leave the scrum machine all week

    • Ed

      Cron will have to work it overtime with Reds, Saders and Brums after the bye.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate unless there are big changes in attitude, leadership and possibly players they will be lucky to get 4th in the conference

      • Adrian

        Could easily be so KRL, especially after looking at the Rebs last week, and the Brums this week.

        Based on a few things though, I’m still predicting that the order will be Tahs, Rebs, Brums, Reds in a much compressed, and much improved conference.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Love your optimism mate

  • Hoss

    Almost a completely unwatchable performance.

    Ok, it’s game 2, but as a Tah’s man I wouldn’t have Spanners or Gilbert anywhere near a gold jersey – they were just awful. Really, really, really awful.

    Genitals is the signing of the season – get him back at 12 NOW. That fucking second man, NRL bullshit cut-out is the ONLY move Gilbert of Spanners have. They are bereft of ideas, game management, situational awareness or any other measurable rugby KPI. And the final icing on the cake – the Sunwolves 10 kicks it twice as far into the wind as Spanners does with the wind.

    Fuck me sideways the Tahs are a like a step child aren’t they, you want to love them, but….

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate if things don’t change they are fucked

    • Nathan Williamson

      With the way Quade has started, he can’t afford to have many more games like this, needs to play more like iceman rather than puddle boy. Hunt looks the real deal, still question his defence, missed a couple today and imo was liability for the third try through not spreading and taking Van der Heever. Need to see improvement otherwise it will be a long year

      • Hoss

        Yep. Compare that to the heart and endeavour the Reds showed.
        This was insipid, limp and disgraceful. It can’t just be a coincidence that it happens with Gilbert & Spanners in the run on. There was sweet fa direct running and just more east-west shite. Look the forwards were poo, Kepu couldn’t catch syphlis in Bali at present. Ranga two-dads got toweled up and Hanigan got turned over by a back, a fucking blow dried, moisturising, cry at the movies, back !!! Good engine Ned but it’s like he’s shot when he hits contact – he goes down quicker than a Kurri girl does for a cheese burger.

      • OnTheBurst

        Watch Lealiifano’s performance in the Brums Chiefs game… excellent!

        Foley in struggle town (or should be)

        • Huw Tindall

          Yup Lealifano played his best game in a long long time. Looks to have got a yard or two more pace as well. On the games so far I’d say it’s Lealifano>QC>Hegarty>Spanners. Hegarty played more 10 than Stewart in the Reds game!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          My ratings are identitcal to yours at this point mate. But still, long season!

        • Nathan Williamson

          Very impressed by Lealiifano’s performance tonight, if he can back it up week in week out he’s hunting for that first or second five jersey

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I personally hope we never see the return of a 10 playing 12 for the Wallabies. I hope those days are over. Let’s develop and play a real 12.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          But, sadly, we know he’s going to start at 10, with Beale at 12, and Folau at 15.

        • Geoffro

          If the season unfolds as it has started so far that couldn’t possibly be the case

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You don’t know my man Mr Cheika.

        • laurence king

          Johnson and O’Conner have been brought in to rein in the madness.
          And I think that if the Tahs keep performing poorly, even Cheika may see the light

        • John Tynan

          I even thought he was hitting some good gaps in the Rebels game, but not much support.

      • NSWelsham in London

        this is why it is so important he is played at 12 and ONLY 12 so he can practice, practice, practice in one position and become great at it.

    • Keith Butler

      Ponies giving the Chiefs a good seeing to atm. QC and CL the form 10s at present.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate as much as Hunt is better than Beale – like who the fuck isn’t? Both Kerevi and Meakes are far better 12s than Hunt.

      • Hoss

        Kerevi yep. Meakes – hmmm few people suffering premature speculation there I reckon.
        I am just talking Tah’s though mate. Look at the standard when it was Genitals / Two-Dads last week v the absolute horse shit tonite. Last week brain snaps from fucking idiots in 3,6 & 16 giving away soft / dumb penalties cost them the game – today was just embarrassing.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Meakes started to develop well last year and has stepped up. Hunt/2 dads looked better than Beale/Hunt absolutely but that doesn’t mean that much because Foley/Beale is so shit and Hunt, while showing promise at 12, is not a 13

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          To me, Meakes looks like Robbie Coleman did. A pretty good Super Rugby 12, but not a guy to make the step up. Would be very happy to be proven wrong, however.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Meakes suddenly goes from looking like a decent super rugby player to a a freak during a match in which Genia and Quade had a field day. Maybe he has improved rapidly over the off season, but I expect it had more to do with Genia and Quade.

          Toomua, Kerevi and Hodge are the guys that, if selections are based on ability and form, Hunt will have to compete with to start at 12.

          Over on the other site David Lord just wrote an article about how good 12. Kurtley/13. Hunt was….

        • Hoss

          That’s unusual for him, his analysis is usually pretty good.

          I was just laying here thinking of a Genia, Cooper, Maddox, Kerevi, Kirindrani, Folau, Banks backline. With CLL & Pataia in the pine. I may have dropped a bit.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Not to seem mean to him, but I think you might be thinking of a different David Lord in that case… Or, rather, a younger David Lord.

          Personally, Maddocks would be nowhere near the 23 for me, but I too am very excited.

          9. Genia
          10. Quade/CLL
          11. Petaia
          12. Kerevi/Hodge/Hunt/Toomua
          13. Kuridrani
          14. Folau
          15. Banks

          21. Sorovi
          22. Quade/CLL
          23. Hodge/Hunt/Beale

          That would do me. Would be even better if White, JOC or Morahan suddenly became eligible.

        • Hoss

          I could live with that.

          Vive Le revolution

        • Brumby Runner

          DBTB I just cannot agree that Morahan should be anywhere near the national team. Whenever he’s been tried, he has been a turnstile in defense. Too many turnstiles already around the teal – no need for any more.

          Personally, I would never select JOC again either. Like many of the Tahs’ incumbents, too entitled in their own minds.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Everything I’ve read from JOC makes me think he really has matured. But then again, who really knows.

        • Ed

          Lord had a go at me last week about being a part of the ‘bag Beale contingent’ after I had pointed out Kurtley’s weaknesses in passing, defence, kicking and running straight.

          You’d be impressed with Paul Cully’s potential Wallabies starting backline:
          Genia, Foley, Marika, Kurtley, Samu, Maddocks, Folau, with Gordon, Cooper and Kuridrani on the bench.
          That is an impressive defensive backline, NOT!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Cully = clueless about backs.

          His analysis about forwards I normally find pretty good.

          Lord = a man with a mission that is about as transparent as could be imagined. Still, I appreciate the banter on his articles. And yeah, I saw his attempt to deflect your reasoned criticism with his ‘bag Beale contingent’ zinger.

        • laurence king

          I think that will be pretty close to the names that O’Conner and Johnson will be bringing to the table

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Gilbert? Is this a Beale nickname? What’s the logic?

      Lucky that after so long, Parker eventually missed a kick.

      • Brisneyland Local

        DBTB. Beale = Gilbert. Due to I think it was the second last Wallabies game where he got falconed. There Beale had to Gilbert logo printed on his face.

        • Hoss

          It’s happened to him 3 times at Wallaby level mate – it’s almost a birthmark now.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold!Lucky they use permanent ink on them balls.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies
        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold. What a dill!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Criminally underrated accurate pass from Quade left to right, with only a tenth of a second to think, while on the run, while being chased by multiple tacklers.

          Incompetence from Kurtley. Still, good recovery from him to go and help make that try-saving tackle. If only he had shown more of that in the last 9 years.

        • Brisneyland Local

          In fact you have found the video evidence of the last time Gilbert made a tackle. ;-)

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I actually think it was somehow high. That would probably be a yellow card and penalty try to the Boks in today’s game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEah I thought about that when I watched it. But that thought was erased the moment it occurred to me that Gilbert was making a tackle. ;-)

    • Mart

      I’m actually a fan of the Wallabies foley beale axis But fark me you hit the nail on the head

      “They are bereft of ideas, game management, situational awareness””that fucking second man, NRL bullshit cut-out is the ONLY move”

      That shit is super painful to watch. And reeks of same problems at wallaby level. The side to side shit behind the play has to stop. You can see it
      from a mile away.

      Someone bloody run a hard line for farks sake!!!!

      • Hoss

        Yep.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Well that was shit. I think the Tahs are going to struggle unless they make some big changes. Stupid play more than bad play but a severe lack of leadership and far too much individualism from the players.
    Some of these players are working hard to take themselves out of contention for the Wallabies. I’m not reading anything into the tries except that why the hell weren’t there more? The bloody Sharks beat them by 30 so this was pretty poor.

    • Nathan Williamson

      Agreed, looked like a team that thought they’d already won by 50 and were trying to stick their chests out for Cheika to see

  • Cameron Rivett

    The Rebels looked great against the Brumbies. The Brumbies look great against the Chiefs (currently 33-10). The Reds looked great against the Highlanders. And the Waratahs couldn’t even put away the Sunwolves. One whiffed drop goal was the difference. This isn’t even the real Sunwolves team, most of their players are on national duty. Very worrying signs for the boys in blue.

    • OnTheBurst

      Can someone please send a video of the Brumbies-Chiefs match to the Tahs please?

    • joy

      Short memory. Add the Waratahs looked great against the Hurricanes.

      • Cameron Rivett

        The Waratahs lost in front of a packed home crowd to a Hurricanes team without their star player who got absolutely trolloped by the Crusaders this weekend. I agree that all is not lost, but I don’t think they’re likely to top the conference again this year based on that performance.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        The Waratahs looked average against a team who had a 9 playing 10 for the last quarter of the game.

    • Nathan Williamson

      Not the best performance by the Waratahs, only real positive was being able to grind a win out whilst playing poor, something they haven’t usually done

  • Fatflanker

    On that inept performance you’d almost have to call the Tahs’ finals chances dead in the water. Hapless.

  • Huw Tindall

    Tahs their own worst enemies in that shit show of a game. On paper lots of points and some good tries and periods of pressure but just soft shit and penalties again. Compared to the Brumbies it was dire. Hunt back to 12 stat. Don’t know what’s happened to Spanners and KB but they aren’t firing. KB off the bench after the bye I think and 2 weeks of scrum practice as the Reds are going to murder them.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Who is the Tahs back up 10? WHoever he is they should be starting, and put Spanners and Gilbert to the bench.

      • Nathan Williamson

        Mack Mason is generally the back up 10, he’s a good alternative and should get his chance throughout his season with all this resting

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah. I would be resting Foley, to let him know that he is not playing. If there is no consequence there is no action.

        • Brumby Runner

          Despite the love for Mason among Tahs’ followers, one week of him starting will soon see Foley rushed back into the side.

        • Ed

          At some stage Foley will have to sit out games. Which ones do you do that for? The ones you realise that realistically the side has little chance of success – ie: the two games at altitude, the Saders?
          There has been little detail released about the rest plan but if sides are pushing for a finals spot and there are three weeks left when players have not had enough “rest”, there could be the same situation as Dan McKellar telling Cheika to bugger off last year.

        • Brisneyland Local

          true. But maybe being banished to the pine may give Spanners the attitudinal adjustment he may require. If you dont get dropped there is no mental punishment. even when cheika bought Cooper in to play 10, Foley was moved to 12. that isnt punishment. that is no matter what you always have a position.

        • David Creagh

          Difference of opinion here. I would be dropping him and saying that he is not up to standard, publicly. Some of these prima donnas need a kick up the arse.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I wholeheartedly agree with that!

  • laurence king

    Well, not too impressive from the Tahs. Hectic and ineffectual, looked like Beale’s and Foley’s Wallaby game-plan from last year. Apart from Folau, the Tahs don’t seem to have any fire-power this year. And the scrum looks a bit of a worry.

    • joy

      Last week?!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        They were bad too.

      • laurence king

        Against the Hurricanes you mean? Considering their first half efforts against the Crusaders, I don’t think I’ll change my mind.

  • Bixbyvegas

    Tahs lineout was solid and accurate for much of the game. Impressed. Scrum I felt for Simmons. He needs a genuine lock next to him. When lachie swinton paired with him all of a sudden they had a stable scrum. Gordon, hunt, Rona Newsome, Folau did well. No passengers there. Good clean outs and support play across the field. Tackle completion 73% a massive problem. Hollaway, Foley and Hoops were the main culprits. All in though plenty to be positive with

    • Brumby Runner

      Gordon showed exactly why, in this game, he should not be a Wallaby contender. He offers zilch to the team’s attack. His only strength is his backing up on rare occasions a Tahs’ back makes a break.

      The myth off Simmons being a scrum beast makes another appearance. Ha, ha.

      • Bixbyvegas

        I didn’t say Simmons was a scrum beast…he’s a lock though and holloway isn’t you put 3 6s in a team and you get what we saw in the scrum, but it wasn’t evident elsewhere on the park. He’s not great, but good enough. Gordon…ruck speed seemed good to me, got the ball away fast, but after seeing Sorovi play on Friday I think the pecking order after Genia will change this year.

        • laurence king

          They were against a second string side that got punished in the scrum last week. They lacked any real penetration throughout the game, few dominant tackles and Beale and Foley were only OK in patches. If it wasn’t for Folau it would have been a loss. Missing Taqele and Hegaty. It’s sad.

  • joy

    Waratahs squeak passed impressive Sunwolves.

    • Brumby Runner

      sneak past second string impressive Sunwolves. FTFY.

      • laurence king

        Long season I imagine, for Cheika as well

  • Andy

    Some of the tackling was abhorrent. This looks like it could be a long season if these guys don’t get there act together.

    Secondly, Hunt for 12 please. Beale can play fullback, bench or Corey Norman’s wing man. Nothing else

  • Brumby Runner

    After two rounds, this is my take so far.

    The Hurricanes are the weakest side I’ve seen from them in the history of Super Rugby. Will be a good contest with the Chiefs to run last in the NZ conference. The Tahs couldn’t beat them last week.

    The Sunwolves were a second string team, missing many of their starters this weekend. The Tahs snuck past them by one point on the back of a significant forward pass to Folau for one of his tries. That, and a very ordinary refereeing exhibition from a debutante in the middle.

    The Tahs are not showing any improvement on their form last year while each of the three other Aussie teams have improved their playlists and plans markedly. Early days, but 2019 looks to be an unhappy one for Tahs’ fans except that they will probably still dominate the Wallabies’ selections.

    • laurence king

      They only have Folau, no other weapons. They could well run last in the conference and Cheika will find himself between a rock and a hard place. And if he wants to persist with his mad selections I don’t believe that he will get away with it.

  • Andy

    I think the wallabies selectors need to make tackling above 85% a pre-requisite. This will do one of 2 things. Force players to learn how to tackle or weed out the guys who don’t put in.

    And if you are number 9-15 and you don’t even get a finger on the opposite player that counts for 2 missed.

NSW Waratahs
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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