Planet Rugby

Sydney arm-wrestle ends in stalemate

02nd March 2007 10:49

Share:

richard_brown_forcecharge_330

Richard Brown of the Force takes on the Waratahs defence

The Waratahs and Western Force played to a 16-all stalemate in their Super 14 Round Five encounter at the Aussie Stadium in Sydney on Friday.

And the game, a real arm-wrestle as the say Down Under, was marred at the end by ugly scenes between Waratah players.

It ended with Lote Tuqiri shoving around teammate Sam Norton-Knight - after the latter had seemingly made a tactical error in the final seconds of the match, while the combustible former Rugby League star showed his frustrations in a very spiteful manner.

In a typical all-Australian derby you would have expected the opposition to be aggressive towards and very angry with each other. But the match ended with some very friendly chit-chat between opponents, while Tuqiri chose to attack his teammate.

A strange end to an odd match.

It was a game of field position, but a game in which nobody truly stamped they authority on proceedings.

The game called out for heroes. It produced moments of sheer brilliance, but only a few. Those who looked likely to be heroes, managed to undo their hard work of earlier with some sloppy efforts later.

The Waratahs dominated the first 20 minutes and looked like running away with the game, as they controlled possession and sprinted into a 13-0 lead inside the first quarter.

However, the Western Force managed to get their hands on the ball, worked their way back into the game and by half-time had narrowed the gap to just two points - 13-11.

The second half deteriorated into a scrappy, brutal affair, with lots of mistakes and even worse option taking. The Waratahs added just three more points to their total and the Force five.

It was that sort of game.

It started out as that sort of game. The Waratahs had lost their captain, Phil Waugh, to injury earlier in the week. The Western Force lost their captain, Nathan Sharpe, shortly before the game to injury.

Peter Hewat slotted two early penalties - in the fifth and eighth minutes - as the Waratahs made their dominance count.

In the 20th minute Morgan Turinui went over for his team's only try, coming when he cut straight between Junior Pelesasa and Ryan Cross - a move that showed up the lack of experience the former Rugby League star, Cross, has in understanding the defensive lines of Rugby Union.

Hewat added the conversion and it all looked good for the 'Tahs at 13-0.

But they did not score again in the half.

Five minutes later Drew Mitchell put the Force on the board with his team's first try, coming from a line-out and Pelesasa making up for the earlier lapse between him and Cross by cutting through, before some great hands put Mitchell into space.

Cameron Shepherd, who had a woeful day with the boot, missed the conversion.

In fact Shepherd, who kicked just two from six, left 10 crucial points on the table in a game that cried out for some of the heroics he produced against the Bulls last month. His kicking standards have certainly slipped since then.

Shepherd did kick two penalties - his only successful kicks of the day - in the 28th and 40th minutes, as the Force continued to narrow the gap.

The moment of the match came three minutes into the second half, when Matt Giteau showed his value to the Force by scoring a try that had class stamped all over it. He noticed that the Waratahs' cover defence had become lazy and quickly stepped into a gap, before accelerating and racing over for a brilliant try.

Shepherd missed the relatively easy conversion attempt, but at 16-13 the Force were not only back in the game, they were now in the lead.

But that was to be their last score.

Hewat, who had earlier hit the upright with an attempted penalty from right in front, slotted a penalty in the 64th minute to tie the scores.

The final 15 minutes saw the two teams battle for territorial advantage as they searched for the winning score.

Neither managed to create a genuine chance, although there were promising moments.

Man of the match: The Waratahs' replacement hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau made a huge impact when he came on in the second half and certainly put his hand up. But he undid all his hard work with a number poor throws at crucial line-outs - two going skew and one lost, going to nobody in particular. Our award for Man of the Match goes to Western Force fly-half Matt Giteau, who not only showed his creative brilliance in the crucial early second-half score, but he showed why he is such a vital cog in the Force backline.

The scorers:

For the Waratahs:

Try: Turinui

Con: Hewat

Pens: Hewat 3

For the Western Force:

Tries: Mitchell, Giteau

Pens: Shepherd 2

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Morgan Turinui, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Daniel Halangahu, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Adam Freier (c), 1 Benn Robinson

Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Aaron Broughton-Rouse, 18 Ben Hand, 19 David Lyons, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Sam Norton-Knight, 22 Sam Harris

Western Force: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Scott Staniforth, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Cameron Shepherd, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Matt Henjak, 8 Scott Fava, 7 Richard Brown, 6 David Pusey, 5 Luke Doherty, 4 Rudi Vedelago, 3 Troy Takiari, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Gareth Hardy

Replacements: 16 Tai McIsaac, 17 Angus Scott, 18 Matt Hodgson, 19 David Pocock, 20 Chris O'Young, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Haig Sare

Referee: Paul Marks (Australia)

Touch judges: George Ayoub (Australia), James Scholtens (Australia)

Television match official: Geoff Acton (Australia)

Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs GriquasPumas vs Griquas Preview
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Preview
Hawkes Bay vs TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Preview
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00