Planet Rugby

Waratahs made to work for win

28th March 2008 10:26

Share:

The Waratahs held off a spirited Cheetahs fightback to claim a 23-19 Super 14 victory in Sydney on Friday.

Leading by thirteen points at the break it looked like the Waratahs would kick on for a comfortable victory, however the Cheetahs hit back well and made the hosts work for their win. Despite a losing bonus point the Cheetahs are still winless in 2008.

On the basis of their first half efforts, which included twenty-five missed tackles, it is difficult to see where they will get a win from. Although on the evidence of the second half one senses it is only a matter of time before Naka Drotské's men claim that elusive first win.

For whilst they will want to forget the first half, in which they were lucky not to have been further behind, they looked a different team after the break. They started to effect their tackles at the point of contact, passes were sticking and slowly they began to take control of the game. The problem was that eventually they were forced to play catch up and didn't have enough time to complete the job.

That said, the Waratahs will have been cursing themselves had they let this game slip, for truth be known they should have been out of sight at the break. They wasted two clear cut chances in the opening ten minutes, Kurtley Beale dropping the ball over the line in the opening minute the worst of the mistakes.

For all their endeavour the hosts only had a Beale penalty to their name after twenty minutes, although it could have been so much more. With the game in the balance, and the Cheetahs starting to enjoy a bit of possession, the Waratahs finally struck against the run of play. Jacques-Louis Potgieter looked to run a move down the narrow side, only to see Phil Waugh snap up his pass and feed Lachlan Turner to race away for the opening try.

Despite being winless this season the Cheetahs have always shown plenty of heart, and having had one claim for a try turned down by the TMO they didn't have to wait long to get back into the game. Heinrich Brussow did the damage with a burst from the base of the scrum and David de Villiers was on hand to finish the move in the corner, Meyer Bosman adding a fine conversion.

But no sooner had the Cheetahs got themselves a footing in the game than they allowed the Waratahs to pull away again. Sam Norton-Knight, playing his first game of the season, sent the side-stepping Rocky Elsom over within a minute of the Cheetahs' score. Beale converted, and added a penalty two minutes later to give his side a comfortable cushion going into the break.

The second half was less of a spectacle as both sides came up with errors that ruined the flow of the game. The stop-start nature of the game suited the Cheetahs more and they asserted themselves with more conviction, although they had to rely on a Waratahs mistake for their second try.

With the Waratahs firmly on attack a loose Josh Valentine pass was hacked forward by Jongi Nokwe. The flying wing gave chase up towards half way, with Elsom for company. A second hack ahead pitted the two in a straight race for the line, which Nokwe won to give his side hope.

Buoyed by Nokwe's try, as well as the Waratahs' sudden inability to control the game, the Cheetahs pressed hard and were rewarded with another try after seventy minutes. Eddie Fredericks combined with Nokwe to send Bosman into the twenty-two. Quick ball to Potgieter enabled the fly-half to send replacement lock Phillip van der Merwe crashing over. Bosman's conversion made it a one-point ball game with ten to play.

Sadly for the Cheetahs that was as close as they got to a win. Beale slotted his third penalty with five minutes to go and from there the Waratahs controlled the ball and wound the clock down to continue their charge for a play-off place.

Man of the Match: Heinrich Brussow was the pick of the Cheetahs line-up, busy in attack and defence but lacking in support more often than not. For the Waratahs the back row showed up well but it was hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau who stole the show. Dynamic in open play and a constant threat at the breakdown he was the heartbeat of the home pack.

Moment of the Match: It has to be Meyer Bosman's missed conversion in the second half. Had he knocked it over then the Cheetahs would have taken the lead with their third try, as it was they never got their noses in front and ultimately paid the price.

Villian of the Match: Not a sniff of trouble, everyone was too busy playing rugby.

The Scorers:

For Waratahs:

Tries: Turner, Elsom

Cons: Beale 2

Pens: Beale 3

For Cheetahs:

Tries: De Villiers, Nokwe, Van der Merwe

Cons: Bosman 2

The Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Lachlan Turner, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dan Vickerman, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Matt Dunning, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Al Baxter, 18 Will Caldwell, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Rob Horne

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Hendrik Meyer, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Duanne Vermeulen, 7 Darron Nel, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Rory Duncan (c), 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.

Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Phillip van der Merwe, 19 Hendro Scholtz, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Conrad Barnard, 22 JW Jonker

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Brent Murray (New Zealand), Damian Mitchelmore (Australia)

Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

Assessor: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Exeter310
4Leicester Tigers39
5Harlequins38