Planet Rugby

Waratahs win Sydney thriller

03rd May 2014 12:24

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bernard foley waratahs hurricanes

Crunched: Bernard Foley

A high-scoring affair in Sydney saw the Waratahs do enough to thwart the threat of the Hurricanes with a 39-30 victory on Saturday.

These two teams had already racked up a ton of tries before kickoff in Sydney and contributed six between them just by half-time.

The defence certainly wasn't exceptional but the entertainment was, as the Waratahs fought back from an early deficit to tie the scores at 24-24 by the break.

Questions had started to emerge over whether the Waratahs were genuine title contenders this season following recent losses to the Force and Blues, but there was no stopping them this time. In the end they ran in five tries, with Israel Folau remarkably not among those that went over.

Adam Ashley-Cooper fended off his man with ease to split open the 'Canes defence, holding Julian Savea before feeding Rob Horne to score in the corner with just 80 seconds up on the clock.

Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen is rated as a top prospect and he struck a line under that with a raw burst of power to score himself. Shrugging off three tacklers bursting around the fringe of the Waratahs defence, which was sloppy, the tighthead prop put his team on the board.

Wycliff Palu then had a nightmarish moment he'll try his best to forget, but won't for some time. With the 'Tahs having successfully scrambled back in defence following Andre Taylor's break, Folau's pass was juggled by Palu in his own try area and Barrett pounced.

Saturday was always going to be a celebration for Julian Savea and he marked it with his 20th try in Super Rugby, Dane Coles beginning a move which the winger finished off with space in the corner.

The Waratahs were in real danger of being left adrift on the scoreboard at 7-24, but they turned it around in style.

Ashley-Cooper again was instrumental as his break set up a try for captain Dave Dennis, the big flanker doing enough to ground the ball despite close attention from the defence.

Then Bernard Foley also found his way to the line from close range, charging up the middle through some soft defence from the 'Canes. Three tries each, 21-24 - some contest.

Horne already had one try to his name and a second looked to be on a plate for the winger after Foley's delicate grubber, but the bounce of the rugby ball is a wicked thing. With the line at his mercy it jumped above his head. Foley's penalty left things all square at half-time.

A combination of brilliance from Michael Hooper and idiocy from TJ Perenara started the second half with a bang.

The scrum-half had Cory Jane in acres of space out wide but opted to run himself, being brought down from behind by the Wallaby flanker from behind. It was a horrendous call from Perenara that cost the Hurricanes a certain five points.

A well-worked move saw Matt Carraro bust his way over for a beneficial try to his team's cause, cutting a fine inside Foley to crash his way over for the bonus point.

Successive penalties from Barrett cut the gap down a single digit at 31-30 before Stephen Hoiles ran the perfect line off Will Skelton's inside pass to rack up his team's fifth try.

Kurtley Beale, electric all night, came agonisingly close to a sixth but his effort was ruled out by the TMO with 11 minutes left on the clock.

A six-point margin never felt secure enough for the Waratahs but when Ardie Savea was penalised on the edge of his 22, Foley stretched the score to 39-30 and with it secured a valuable victory for his team.

The Hurricanes have been flying in recent weeks and this result will keep them in check, but they remain very much in the mix in the New Zealand Conference. With the Brumbies slipping up earlier in Christchurch, this was a good day for Michael Cheika's men.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Horne, Dennis, Foley, Carraro, Hoiles
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Tommaga-Allen, Barrett, J.Savea
Cons: Barrett 3
Pens: Barrett 3

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Jacques Potgieter, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tola Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendon McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Alofa Alofa

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia) , Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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