Waratahs top the Reds and the Table - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Waratahs top the Reds and the Table

Waratahs top the Reds and the Table

The Waratahs hosted the Reds for the Bob Templeton Cup at the SCG for the first time in 35 years, which was also the first ever Super Rugby match at that venue. The Waratahs put together a polished but not perfect performance to win convincingly, the final scoreline being 37-16, their 8th win in a row against the Reds.

The win put the Waratahs on top of the Australian conference and 3rd on the overall ladder, having now beaten all teams in the conference and are the only team in the competition along with the Hurricanes to have lost just one match.


The opening quarter saw neither team gain any real ascendency with a lot of errors and indiscretions seeing possession change hands several times. Two Bernard Foley penalty goals and one to James Tuttle saw a 6-3 scoreline after 25 minutes.

The Reds looked like they would be next to score, dominating possession and territory for 10 minutes, but were unable to capitalise and eventually the Waratahs escaped with a Beale clearing kick and then turning over the Reds possession downfield, and nearly scoring themselves if not for a high pass from Hegarty over the head of Foley.

The next phase saw an exchange of box kicks which led to a barnstorming run by Michael Wells down the right sideline and a perfect inside pass to Jake Gordon who sprinted 30 metres for the opening try.

Another Tuttle penalty goal right on the half time whistle saw the Waratahs go to the sheds with a 13-6 lead.

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

The Reds came out of the blocks harder in the second half, again leading the possession and territory stats and were able to get on the board quickly with a Tuttle penalty goal reducing the deficit to just 4 points.

Minutes later, Lance threw a terrible and even forward cut-out pass into the hands of Naiyaravoro who beat off Aiden Toua to run 60 metres and score his first try of the match, converted by Foley.

Another Foley penalty goal extended the scoreline to 23-9, however Filipo Daugunu pounced on a Waratahs error on half way soon after, scoring his own 50 metre intercept try, converted by Lance.

With 10 minutes left on the clock the Waratahs put together a superb succession of well structured phases before Naiyaravoro finished off the stanza with a close range try, his second for the night. Soon after the Waratahs sealed the deal when Harry Johnson-Holmes was driven over the line, and Bernard Foley converted to finish the night with a 7/7 perfect kicking record.

Jake Gordon is all Smiles - Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Jake Gordon is all Smiles – Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes


They did enough to show that the foundation for a top team is in place, but their haste to try and score on every play and their skill errors when they had the Reds at their mercy do not bode well for next week against the Lions.


The Reds have real limitations. Early season form covered some of them over, but they were there for all to see last night. Can their coaching team paper over the cracks and give the Chiefs a game at home next week?

The Game Changer

Naiyaravoro’s 47th minute try ultimately created a match winning lead and his 70th minute one sealed it.


Michael Wells has really come of age this season and backed it up with a terrific performance last night. Before leaving the field with what looked like a shoulder injury he made 4 carries for 50 run metres, as well as some great work over the ball. For the Reds, it was a disappointing night but Daugunu always looked a threat.

Wallaby watch

Taquele Naiyaravoro surely has a big circle around his name as a leading contender for the specialist starting winger’s jersey for the Ireland series. He has always been a battering ram but now he looks superbly athletic as well. When does his northern hemisphere contract start? Samu Kerevi was the Reds’ best and is a leading contender for the #13 jersey, whilst Michael Wells and Liam Wright could easily be wider squad inclusions.

The Details

Crowd: Not known.

Score & Scorers

Waratahs 37
Tries: Naiyaravoro (2), Johnson-Holmes, Gordon
Conversions: Foley (4)
Penalties: Foley (3)
Reds 16 
Tries: Daugunu
Conversions: Lance
Penalties: Tuttle(3)

Cards & citings:


  • Greg

    Thanks for the write-up. I was at the match and enjoyed the game, the atmosphere and the lovely ground.

    There were indeed a lot of errors with a couple of beauties from the blue 10. He couldn’t take a high but catchable pass out wide in the first half. A probable try under the posts went begging. He passed behind his outside man in the second half in a promising raid down the wing.

    There was some aimless kicking in both directions.

    The inability to take opportunities when presented and then hand the ball to the opposition needs to be addressed before the games against the NZ teams.

    • Dally M

      That’s a bit hash. The ball was well above his head and he was mid-stride, it would have been a fluke for anyone to catch that in the circumstances. It was shit pass, lets not blame Foley for that.

      • Greg

        maybe… it was right in front of me and it looked catchable.

  • idiot savant

    Thanks Hawko. The Tahs are looking better than they have for a long time. They made plenty of mistakes but still won easily. Their forward pack dominated the Reds everywhere except for the scrum. The difference in speed between them and the Reds at the ruck and in running onto the ball was stark. And for all Thorn’s proselytising about defence, the Tahs were much better tacklers, and had much better structure. They were fitter, faster, and smarter. The Mipper worked beautifully against a pack of big one out runners. The Reds could’ve lost by a lot more.

    For the Reds, the road looks long and winding, and mostly uphill. While I am a fan of Thorn’s drive to change the culture (and happy to see the back of Cooper and Hunt) Im still not sure about his actual coaching ability. He references his own playing days a lot in interview and I fear he may be coaching a style of game that everyone has moved on from. Big, brutal, physical, punch it up (could be the first 4 tackles of a Wayne Bennett coached outfit) with very little ball play. There does not appear to be two line options in attack, no running from depth, very little offloading, no run arounds, few angle changes. Its pretty basic and all of it hampered by slow ball which a pack of this size should not be delivering. Tuttle appears to reposition the ball in this hands every time before he passes and as a side they do not set up for quick ball. In a sense they aren’t using their size as well as they could. Get em out of the gym and get them running. They have been humiliated in the last 15 minutes against all the Australian sides. Can you imagine what the kiwis will do to them in the last 15?

    Im not a fan of the current centre combination. It has singularly failed to deliver tries against many different teams. For all Kerevi’s busts they aren’t leading to tries. Thats because as the Tahs showed – its the ball that scores the try, not the man. Personally I would send Kerevi back to club rugby and tell him he wont be picked again until he can go a whole match without missing a tackle. How he missed Wells is beyond me. Wells didnt step and he had him covered. he couldve ran into him. In fact Id be recommending he try tackling standing up. The old Greg Shambrook special. Tackle chest first. Kerevi has real technique problems.

    If the Reds are to get better the coaching has to improve. Defence is nowhere near as good as they think it is and their structure breaks down under fatigue. (What was Tui doing defending two out from the pick and go on the line and leaving the small Stewart as the pillar?) Bring Ready back to hit someone, anyone, at the line out and get some pilfers. Stop the bash and barge centre crap and bring Duncan back and give Stewart major game time at 10. Both of these players are second touch players who will back up. run around, and offer support lines to runners. Thorn has been out-coached two weeks in a row. He needs to admit that if only to himself and set about improving his game plan and strategies.

    • Adrian

      Yes, agree with most of this idiot.

      As a person who has correctly tipped all matches involving Australian sides this year, bar one draw, I have looked at the sort of things you mention.

      The Reds desperately need a guy like Duncan P to put guys through gaps. He’s not enough though.

      What the Reds miss, and Rebs and Brumbies too is consistently creative guys at all of the positions 9,10,12, and ideally 13. Not just one of these positions. If a guy isn’t creative, he has to be a very fast passer.

      If these teams don’t have the cattle, then they need to find a way of bringing dangerous runners into the game through a creative 10 or 12. Duncan P could feed Duaganu if he sliced in at an angle, with Kerevi running decoy. That would oddly enough give Kerevi a bit more space for other plays, once noticed.

      Qld far too predictable.

      NSW going very well so far, but as write up suggests, need more patience. Lions will be a big test

    • joy

      Seems like you`re making a case to bring Quade back!

    • John Tynan

      Up vote for everything except send Kerevi back to club comment, I think you do him a disservice. I think k it was Sullys write up that pointed out an over reliance in attack leading to fatigue in defence.

      A couple of weeks ago I suggested that the Reds were some months ahead of where they expected to be, and that the coaching and selection was not where it needed to be. I think that was highlighted even further on the weekend, and dare I say it but they looked like the Rebels of the last few years. Directionless, unable to adapt and unable to play past two phases.

      • RobC

        Yup. The issue is coaching.

        Put Samu K in another team with a more competitive attack regime and a strong defensive lead. He will run a 100+

        The Wells try is no more Samu’s fault than it was the three backs who couldnt catch Rory Arnold in the previous weeks game

  • Jack Mallick

    Did anyone else like the look of Curtis Rona at outside? Defended well against CFS and had a few great swerving runs through traffic.

    • joy

      I thought he had a solid game. He has made 82% of his tackles this year. Crotty is on 76% albeit it mostly against Kiwi sides.

  • joy

    Wells` tackling really stands out. This year 80 from 85 for 94%. on top of this all forwards tackled wells in this game. I don’t know how he survivied

  • Dally M

    What was with all the lifting tackles on Rona after he passed the ball?

    Happened about 3 times and he was lifted every time.

    • Greg

      It looked pretty dramatic live but on replay all of them drove him back onto his back. It is a risky technique though, with only a small error or a twist from the tackled player need for it to be very serious.

  • RobC

    Thanks for the post. Enjoyed the matched. But not the result.

  • John_R

    The Foley/Beale/Hegary playmaking axis is really clicking quite nicely.

    They seem to want to play that sort of NZ style miracle ball, but a lot of those last passes aren’t sticking (like they do for the Kiwi’s), but if they can keep winning games, I’m reasonably sure that confidence will continue to grow, and those last passes will stick a bit more consistently.

    Well. I hope anyways!

    • Gipetto

      Even Folau concedes Hegarty is the best fullback for the Tahs. Bryce has made the difference in attack and is making Foley look good by taking over the attack coordination role.

      • John_R

        He’s the exact type of player the Tahs needed I reckon. Iliken him a wee bit to Matt Carraro. Doesn’t need the spotlight, just gets the job done, and doesn’t make mistakes.

        Up the Tahs!

        • Gipetto

          I hate the Tahs and I am bitter that the Reds never thought to buy Hegarty instead of Lucas and Lance

        • John_R

          Ah yeah he’s a Brisbane lad originally isn’t he, Hegarty?

  • Nick Gregory

    “the hands of Naiyaravoro, who beat off Aiden Toua”

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