Waratahs weather the Stormers at Cape Town - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Waratahs weather the Stormers at Cape Town

Waratahs weather the Stormers at Cape Town

The Waratahs found themselves in familiar territory at Newlands late on Saturday night needing a try to win in the final minutes. For the first time in 2016 they were up to the task and snatched a 32-30 win against the Stormers.

The Match

When Dean Mumm fluffed the opening kick-off reception into touch it handed possession to the Stormers and set the tone for the pressure the Waratahs were going to be under in the first half. A couple of early penalty goal misses from Jean-Luc du Plessis kept the scorers idle and after absorbing pressure for much of the first 7 minutes the Waratahs scored through Kurtley Beale on the second phase off a lineout on the Stormers 22. Bernard Foley beat Damien de Allende before a short pass put Beale over for the try.

The Tahs had to make the most of their chances because the game went back into their half for much of the remainder of the first stanza. The Stormers built sustained pressure and an inside ball from Nic Groom close to the Tahs line put Schalk Burger over under the posts. When Pieter-Steph du Toit crashed over from a pick and go 5 minutes later, the score was 14-5 and the pressure the Stormers were able to build was starting to pay dividends.

The Waratahs managed to hang tough in defence and withstood many attacking raids from the Stormers. With half time approaching, a penalty presented the Waratahs with a lineout throw 35 metres out from the Stormers line. A quick ball off the top and a brilliant flat ball from Kurtley Beale to Israel Folau again found de Allende lacking in defence and the Tahs went to half time trailing 12-14. With the Stormers enjoying 73% of the first half possession and 77% of the territory it was a small miracle that the Waratahs were in the hunt.

Penalties were traded in the second half and the Stormers were still enjoying a 2 point lead when a clumsy challenge from winger Leolin Zas collected Bernard Foley in the air sending him landing heavily on his head and shoulder. After consultation with TMO Shaun Veldsman, referee Mike Fraser decided the challenge warranted a red card. Whilst it was unfortunate for Zas that he slipped into the contact and perhaps a yellow card would have been sufficient, the red card of Jason Emery and 4 weeks suspension last week suggested he wasn’t just going to escape with a penalty. There’s a clear directive from the match officials that a player in the air has to be protected and if you want to compete you have to be in a position to catch the ball.

Another du Plessis penalty extended the lead to 5 before the Waratahs produced the try of the match in the 66th minute. Israel Folau caught the high ball 10 metres inside the Waratahs half and a Kurtley Beale break with the ball spreading from one side of the field to the other and back again was finished with a great offload from Reece Robinson to put Rob Horne over for the try.

It felt like the Waratahs were going to need to score again to win and that was confirmed when du Toit caught the Waratahs ruck defence napping when he picked the ball up at the breakdown and ran over untouched from close range.

Needing a converted try to win in the final minutes, the Waratahs made a big break and put themselves in a great attacking position before Angus Ta’avao pushed an offload which was dropped.

The ensuing 5 metre defensive scrum to the Stormers was a thing of beauty for a much maligned Waratahs scrum. Jeremy Tilse produced the scrum of his career and the Waratahs powered over the Stormers scrum and forced their second tight head of the match. With penalty advantage, the Tahs were trying to pick and go from close range and Michael Hooper got the legs pumping to force his way over under the posts. With the conversion, the Waratahs led 32-30 and after securing the kick-off and safely navigating several phases to chew up the final minute, a famous victory was achieved.
With the Rebels and Brumbies both losing, the Waratahs now find themselves only two points off the top of the Aussie conference with a game in hand. A season that looked all but over a couple of weeks ago is now well and truly alive.

The Game Changer

With 24 minutes to go, Stormers winger Leolin Zas slipped and clattered into Bernard Foley as he attempted to catch a high ball. Foley was flipped dangerously onto his head and a (fairly harsh) red card ensued.


Michael Hooper produced a real captain’s knock leading the Waratahs to an important victory. A match high 17 tackles helped the Tahs withstand the immense pressure they were placed under, and the performance was capped off with the winning try when he burrowed over under the posts in the 78th minute to seal the win.

Wallaby watch

Michael Hooper was outstanding and will perhaps quieten some of those doubting his current form. Will Skelton had arguably his best game of the year and was a menace at the breakdown and carried strongly. Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley combined brilliantly and were a constant threat.

The Details

Crowd: 25,000

Score & Scorers

Waratahs: 32 #
Tries: Beale, Folau, Horne, Hooper
Conversions: Foley 3/4
Penalties: Foley 2/4
Stormers: 30
Tries: Burger, du-Toit (2)
Conversions: Du Plessis 3/3
Penalties: Du Plessis 3/5

Cards & citings

Leolin Zas – Red Card and cited

If you’re a Waratahs fan and haven’t seen it then find yourself a replay! The difficulty of winning in Cape Town makes this an instant classic.

  • LoveThePoop

    how is the red card harsh?? It means nothing that he slipped and it means nothing that he had eyes on the ball… anyone in his position knows that there will be a player going up for the catch… you can’t take a players legs out when they are in the air… simple as that… How is it any different to what happen last week in the highlanders game??

    • Hugh Cavill

      Well last week Emery didn’t have his eyes on the ball, and recklessly tackled the man in the air.

      This week, Zas was challenging for the ball, had his eyes on the ball but slipped. His intention, unlike Emery, was to take the ball, not the man. I think he was a bit unlucky and a YC would have been more appropriate.

      • I didn’t think he slipped though – thought it was more of a duck to miss the boot to the head as we was nowhere near the ball

        • Hugh Cavill

          Best shot I can get, but shows to me his right foot going out from under him. Also shows he is in position to contest the kick, just that he can’t get the height that Foley has.

        • Yeah, still doesn’t prove much. It looks to me that he’s leaned too far back causing the fall, rather than it being because of a slip.

          If you don’t have any height you aren’t contesting with a man in the air.

          This has become a deliberate tactic – chaser has no intention to compete in the air for the ball, simply overruns it while looking upwards which is exactly what Zas did.

        • Wallaby Dave

          He definitely slipped but Foley was lucky to get away with no serious injury after landing heavily on his shoulder/head. Be interesting to see the length of suspension

        • scamper

          http://i.imgur.com/f3hnFf9.gifv shows that you’re wrong

        • Alex

          It looks like foley was barely touched at all. Just fell badly

        • Braveheart81

          It doesn’t take a lot of contact at the right angle to someone in the air to completely change their trajectory. Foley’s leap is clearly not going to send him landing on his head without intervention.

        • Nutta

          To be fair, the forwards equivalent of taking out the jumper was that there was a trend early on when we first started lifting in lineouts for the front lifter to make contact on the opposing jumpers legs and flip him. The game was more to freak out the next lineout jumper then to hurt the current one. Typically forwards are 25yrs in front of Backs anyway so no surprise there. However the refereeing response was pretty swift and brutal with multiple folk at multiple levels getting marched and suspended. And it was a good thing as you barely ever see that crap anymore.

          However I do note the trend now to keep a lineout jumper in the air for a while almost daring the opponents to make an early contact and thus milk a penalty (and milk a card?). We saw Lewd Jagger and his Storm-Trooper mates try it a bit for the last 3-4wks and finally got pinged last weekend (good). Maybe in another 1/4 century when Backs catch up we will see the same type of “I-Dare-You” penalty attempt with the bomb-catch?

          One thing I note from Aussie Rules is the well-known Ruckman principle of “getting up early” and denying the space to the opposing Ruckman. The concept is not to see who jumps higher but to deny the opponent space to leap into. Funnily enough it’s also the way we used to run the front lineout jumper by getting a big body up early and taking the space. You still see it occasionally with well organised kick-off units to put big men in the air early to bump out their catchers and let the foragers clean up scraps.

          And so what’s old becomes new again…

        • Parker

          Foley does as much to knock the Stormer down as vice versa.

        • It shows that he had overrun it, overbalanced and wasn’t even attempting to get into the air

        • Unanimous

          It doesn’t show he overan it. He tried to plant his jumping foot a frame or two after Foley, just the same as Foley did, but it slipped. It’s clearly accidental. Foley could have done the same.

        • Hugh Cavill

          To me it looks like he’s about to go up for it, jumping off his right foot. But said foot then slips and he goes under Foley. Maintain this was an innocent mistake that should have been yellow.

        • Thing is, the law doesn’t account for accidental or not, just whether he hits his neck or butt

        • Parker

          There is no question in my mind this shows him slipping. He plants his right foot to jump off it, but it slides. He has still interfered with Foley despite his lack of intent to do so.

        • Gus

          Totally agree

        • idiot savant

          Agree. If he was really going to have the courage to put his own body on the line he would have leapt in the air earlier and been prepared for upper body contact. Even if his foot had held he would have caught this on the ground. But I dont care if it seems unfair. The only way to stamp the bullshit challenges out is for players to know that unless their attempt puts their own safety in jeopardy they risk leaving their own team one player short.

        • LoveThePoop

          it doesn’t matter if he slipped or not… he still put himself in a position under the players legs and the player landed on his shoulder or head… Its a red card and should always be a red card… Unfortunate that he did slip but it doesn’t matter.
          Just like when a player is pinged down and can’t roll away in a ruck… its unfortunate that he is stuck but he has still put himself in that position and should be penalised (obviously thats not a red card incident)…
          What would be harsh is to see him rubbed out for 4 weeks, as Hugh pointed out he was at least showing intent to make a fair contest of it, unlike the Emery incident, but he still put Foley in a dangerous position where he landed on his head and shoulder (which is an automatic red card) and probably deserves a week or 2 at the most… The ref’s can’t allow a precedent to be set where they take into consideration if a player slipped or tripped… It makes it a grey area and it leaves the door open to players who think they are worthy of an oscar to “accidentally trip or slip” when they know they are not going to win the contest.
          Final point- It was only a winger that was red carded, so it hardly had an effect on the result, those guys don’t do anything anyway

        • Agree on all points!

        • MalleeBoy

          I thought the same in full speed, however replay shows a clear slip off his planted foot

        • Tah fan

          Replay shows his foot slide, he had lost his footing and slipped into the contact

    • Braveheart81

      Harsh in the sense that I think it could have been given a yellow card and virtually no one would have suggested that was the wrong decision. At the time I thought it could have gone either way. It certainly needed at least a yellow.

      • Chinese Dave

        Yeah, I was thinking this is a YC, was quite surprised by the red (in a good way). One thing I don’t understand is, why does it matter how the player landed? Surely the tackle itself is either dangerous or not. The tackler should not be judged on the actual result, but on the foreseeable result of his actions.

        • Braveheart81

          How the player landed is important because it helps shows how dangerous the event was. E.g. a lifting tackle where a player gets beyond the horizontal is dangerous but a lifting tackle where a player is inverted onto their head and neck is much more dangerous.

          I disagree with judging danger on whether or not someone gets injured but certainly the result in terms of how they land is important. It is the only objective measure to determine how dangerous something was.

  • Second tighthead of the match? With Angus Ta’avao at THP? Against the Stormers – the best scrum in SA? Tell me I’m dreaming!

    • Lee Grant

      He was there but he had the help of Holloway pushing as though his life depended on it.

  • harro

    It would have been nice to win a match that was 15 on 15 for 80 minutes, and that was looking possible, but a win first week in SA and against the Stormers is very welcome. I wasn’t upset with the red and I wouldn’t have been upset with a yellow. It was a borderline decision. I guess it comes down to whether they think he’ll be suspended or not. If he gets suspended then a yellow would have been the wrong call.

    Nice to see the scrum has improved, two tightheads against the Stormers is a win. The problems that were affecting the whole team early in the season now seems largely confined to a few (repeat) offenders. Get that (or them) out of the game and the Tahs are looking good. Foley and Beale are looking really good together.

    With the match in hand, the Tahs are now in a good position on the table, but with 4 matches left against Kiwi opposition there’s still a lot of work to do.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Woke up early and watched the replay without knowing the score.
    . ‘Dean Mumm fluffed the opening kick-off reception into touch it handed possession to the Stormers.’ It had me thinking ‘here we go again’.
    . Pleasantly surprised that despite not having much ball, that the boys hung in there.
    . Stormers looked impressive, even with 14.
    . Newlands crowd seemed to be even happy when Tahs scored, which was generous of them.
    . Losing our own lineouts is killing us.
    . Red card seemed overkill. Even so, they were still good in attack and defense. What a champion team.
    . At times our hands let us down but we’re improving.
    . Big Will did more good than bad today. Hats off.
    . Rob Horne was very good in D and attack.
    . Seemed a case of Tah backs v Stormers forwards.
    . Improvements in our kicking game not obvious.
    . TPN made a huge difference to scrum and lineout.
    . Foley, Beale and Folau starting to really gel.
    Pleased/relieved to get a win, but sheesh do we make it hard for ourselves or what?
    I wonder how Gibbo rates that performance?

    • Wallaby Dave

      Me too, taped it and got up with no look at the phone. Thought here we go again after the muffed kickoff but glad i endured the full 80

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW


    • Nutta

      Geez you’re a nice guy.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        I’m married.

        • Nutta

          Yeh, so am I. And with 3 daughters to top it off. But you’re still way more nice than I am.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    This thing looks like it was written by Tonto.

    • harro

      It’s great that the bot liked my comment before spamming. Give and take.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW


        • harro

          These things are usually automated

  • Lee Enfield

    Was it a fair contest for the ball
    – if the answer is Yes, then no penalty
    – if the answer is No, then penalty.
    If it is a penalty then it has to be carded and how Foley landed determines the colour
    – landed on backside, Yellow
    – landed on neck, head, shoulders, Red.

    The fact he slipped is irrelevant, it was not a fair contest, therefore, penalty and red card is correct decision.

    • Hugh Cavill

      The definition of ‘fair contest’ is very flexible though. The Stormers player had eyes for the ball, was in position to take it and therefore was entitled to compete in the manner that he did. He lost his footing at the last minute, and thus went under Foley who jumped high to take the ball.

      I concede that as the laws are now the decision was probably correct. I just think the laws are a bit inflexible here, and given Zas was making a fair rugby play (IMO) then a YC was a more appropriate sanction.

      • Lee Enfield

        Agreed, the fair contest thing is flexible. I look at as, if both players are in the air competing for the ball, then it is a fair contest. If one is airborne and the other isn’t, or both airborne but one is not contesting for the ball there is no fair contest.
        I think the laws need to be inflexible when dealing with a player in the air. Foley had no chance of protecting himself, be it accidental or not. Players will exploit any flexibility if refs start making judgement calls on accidental or not.
        A player slipping and falling into a tackle isn’t taken into account on field when dealing with dangerous tackles, nor should it for players in the air.
        To me, on field decisions like this should remain inflexible, the flexibility should be administered by the judiciary when deciding if any further sanction is required and if so how long.
        In this case, I would go with it was accidental and not malicious, On field Red card sufficient.

        • jamie

          Agree. No further sanction needed.

      • Gus

        Sorry guys but looking at the ball doesn’t give you the right to up end the other guy. Competing for the ball in the air is a fantastic skill that’s great to watch. If you are not able to compete you shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt the other player especially when it’s dangerous. This tactic was used extensively against Issy last season and is rightly being stopped

      • idiot savant

        I applaud the red card decision. I have watched far too many cynical attempts over the years where players appear to have eyes for the ball but are really positioning themselves to spoil or hurt the courageous player going for the ball. I have been waiting for referees to have the guts to take a zero tolerance even on suspicion. Who cares if he lost his footing. Send a message. If you think its clever to take Izzy’s feet out then have your side compete with one less man. Its the only way to stamp this garbage out of the game. This is what happens in the AFL because they know the high flying mark is important to the popularity of the game. Rugby appears content to continue to privilege negative play and leak players and dollars to opposition codes. We should all applaud red card decisions on high ball contests even if it means our sides lose a man.

    • Dr Prinsworthy

      A good summary and pretty consistent I reckon given there has been a couple of similar incidents in recent weeks.

  • Chinese Dave

    The silence from all those who rubbished the Tahs chances before the game is telling (you know who you are). For the second week in a row, the Tahs have stepped up, taken responsibility for their game and put in a performance. The much maligned forwards put on a real performance, going toe to toe with a great opposition and even winning two scrums against the feed, one where it counted the most. The backs were smooth as silk (for the most part). Dare I say it, Believe!

    • Dud Roodt

      Hands up if you got a chubby reading this?

  • Wallaby Dave

    The Tahs lineout was wobbly. Improved after Taf came on, as did the scrum. Beale and Foley looked good together (again), Beale’s pass to Folau was red hot. Also Reece Robinson is improving every week

    • Tah fan

      I thought that too. He’s turning into a pretty handy winger. Just needs to have a proper kicking game on top of what he’s currently got

      • Dud Roodt

        I really hope he comes good but still looks a bit like a spare dick at a gangbang to me

  • skip

    That scrum at 78 mins sent suddders of sexual pleasure through me i can still feel.

    Please no one ruin it by telling me they dropped a man to cover the backline (why would they be so dumb on their own ball?).

  • Mart

    The ball from beale and the line Folau ran was a thing of beauty.
    Farkin glorious

    • onlinesideline

      Mart please clarify, as everytime I see your pic you look like you’re in the helicopter looking for Sonny and Skip – are you ?

      Ranger Hammond and the british sounding blonde

      • Mart

        Roger that

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Personally I think that they are putting too much emphasis on the challenge for the ball. It’s getting to the stage now where people won’t compete for fair of penalty and that would be a shame. Personally when I referee if it’s a fair challenge and one person comes off worse that’s just bad luck. I mean how far do we go? If we keep on this path then a fair tackle that results in an injury will be a penalty and that’s just Nancy boy stupid

    • idiot savant

      What a surpass to see a kiwi object to this! You guys have the most to lose on interpretations like this because you are coached from a young age on your own kick to pretend to challenge for the ball when all you really want to do is try and injure the guy who is showing the real courage to catch it.

      • Tomthusiasm

        Yeah, it’s a wonder we don’t play AFL, we’d probably be really good at it too.

      • Chinese Dave

        I think you forget that Kiwis play each other more than anyone else, especially at younger ages. Even if you’re willing to assume that they would coach their players to injure other (non-Kiwi) players, which in and of itself is a stupid assumption, why would they coach their players to injure other Kiwis. Pretty dumb comment.

        • idiot savant

          Yeah I was probably a bit intemperate about the coaching thing. My apologies to our Anzac cousins. But Ive seen enough kiwis pretend to contest over the years that I thought it had to be practised! Witness Conrad Smith last year.

          They may not be coached to injure each other in domestic games but they sure as hell try to! They try and kill each other on the field and share a cordial afterwards. Which is how it should be.

    • Tomthusiasm

      I agree with everything, except the slightly homophobic comment at the end. To me, Zas was having a fair crack at the ball. Emery’s red card last week was deserved, but this was a bit piss weak. I know the laws are there to protect the player in the air but I’d hate to see players become gun shy.

    • Braveheart81

      Players currently aren’t competing for the ball. In many situations the defender is just trying to make contact with the player catching the ball in the air so they knock it on.

      The laws have to protect the player in the air and encourage a fair challenge. This wasn’t a fair challenge and resulted in a dangerous outcome for the only player who made a genuine attempt at catching the ball.

  • Nutta

    I thought the red was harsh. I get the laws and everybody’s points but convicting on the basis of potential severity is a flawed ethos. Anyways…

    Folau is getting more and more comfortable at 13 and with K’drani having an ordinary week it may be a telling performance.

    2 tight heads vs Stormers is really something.

    I thought Hooper played very well and it was great to see after a few quiet weeks.

    TPN certainly showed his value

    The Ranga (Kellaway?) is going to be something special I reckon

    WTF was up with the goal kickers?

  • Older I Get

    That match was one for the doubters. Myself included.
    The (bench) front row won a pushover penalty and a subsequent match winning try resulted.
    The second row had moments but Skelton showed real impact.
    Bob Dwyer may have been a catalyst for Hooper and Holloway is looking good.
    Phipps was quick and cunning. Not overplaying his hand.
    Foley has been doubted through the season but he looked like a 5/8 should – a bit nancy-boy, but ever effective.
    Beale has shut the doubters down. From the pariah of Aus rugby to a true contender with poise. It is a wonder of the leadership team to guide Beale to his current self.
    Folau. Nuff said.
    Both wingers looked great. As you said, Robinson is coming on well.
    Kelloway is a work in progress – but it is progressing.
    Most of all Gibson. He aint no Cheika, but few are.

    • Chinese Dave

      I’m reserving judgement on Gibson, in both directions. Cheika had an 8-8 record in his first season at the Tahs. Gibson has a 4-4 at this stage and even the games the Tahs lost, they were in with a chance right until the end. On the other hand, he didn’t need to turn around the team the way Cheika had to and did. So yeah, Gibson could turn out to be a great coach or only a mediocre one, we’ll see.

  • Mishad

    Missed the game as I was travelling (to cape town of all places), yet to watch a replay. Anyone find a reliable link? Thanks

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