The Waratahs had already come top of the comp, the Reds a confirmed shocker of a season. Could the Queenslanders hide the disappointment with a face saving win against the old enemy?
The Tahs started the match at pace – Kurtley Beale creating one try with a midfield burst for Jono Lance and scoring another after Cam Crawford put the lights out on Ben Tapuai out wide. Both of these scores happened within the first 15 minutes.
From there though it was slim pickings for the Tahs, the Reds focusing on the source of the ball at set piece – especially the lineout – and breakdown.
A brief period of pressure resulted in Davies being denied over the line by Michael Hooper just a few minutes later, but that was the end of the try scoring chances for either side in the first half.
In the 27th minute there was some biff, Sekope Kepu getting sent off for uppercuts that didn’t seem to land on Beau Robinson. Just before the scuffle, Tahs captain Michael Hooper put a late hit on Harris that upended Aussie Mike. Keep an eye on the citing commissioner with this one.
Nick Phipps ended the half by disrupting the ball at the back of the scrum with his foot and then chasing it into a turn over. The half finished 3-17, Foley having missed 5 points in sitters.
Liam Gill joined the Reds for Curtis Browning (who’d had a good half) and made an immediate impact, turning over ball, putting a big hit on Jackpot, and getting pinged – 3-20.
But it was the Tahs who landed the next body blow, Beale dropping an exquisite chip through for the Earl to regather. A quick recycle 50m later and it was that man KB back over for another try. 3-27
The NSW bench started to get emptied about now, to the point where McKibbin moved to half back and Phipps moved to fullback.
A feature of the Tahs play all night was their offloading in the contact and in the 73rd minute a beautiful sequence of deft offloads resulted in a bonus point try to Nick Phipps. 3-34
That’s how the score ended – the highest for the Tahs ever against the Reds. Despite some deficiencies in the Tahs game tonight, they were simply in a different class to the Reds.
What you need to know
- The Tahs lineout truly sucked, losing at least 6 against the throw – point one on any oppo’s opportunities list. This is a worry against top teams.
- The Reds were once again their own worst enemy, turning the ball over 29 times, versus 16 for the Tahs.
- You can’t underestimate the impact of the Waratah’s defence. While they missed 15 tackles to the Reds 22, the work they put in to cover and the number of dominant hits with swarming follow up strangle sides as much as they attack.
The Game Changer
Try number one. It was one way traffic from then on.
The usual names all put their hands up, but the guy who looks at home back at the top level is Stephen Hoiles – look out Higgers.
Score & Scorers
Yellow card: Johnson
Tries: Lance, Beale 2, Phipps
Cons: Foley 4
Pens: Foley 2
Yellow card: Kepu