ANZ Stadium, Sydney
FxPro Super Rugby round 17
HSBC Waratahs 15 – 19 Brumbies
Another area of the game that Foley says the team will need to work on is the restarts. “Once you score points, the opposition kicks the ball back into your half and securing that possession is critical.
“If you don’t, obviously they get possession and they are in your half. That swings the momentum in the game. That happened to us two or three times tonight and when you’re playing the best side in Australia, the margins are going to be very fine. You need to win those little margins.”
The home side dominated the opening 10 minutes, retaining the ball and creating a number of early line breaks through flanker Dave Dennis and flyhalf Bernard Foley. But it was the Brumbies who opened the scoring, flyhalf Zack Holmes slotting an easy penalty to give his side a three point lead in the 13th minute.
There were signs of attacking promise from the opening whistle, with the back three getting plenty of early touches and linking well with playmakers Foley and Berrick Barnes and their powerful back row.
After a second Brumbies penalty, this time from the boot of Jesse Mogg, the home side hit back, scoring the first try of the match through man of the match Tatafu Polota-Nau. Having turned down a shot at the posts and opted for the scrum, the HSBC Waratahs continually attacked the Brumbies’ line until it eventually capitulated, allowing the hooker to barge through. Barnes’ attempt swung wide, leaving the home side trailing by a point with half time approaching. A last minute penalty for a ruck infringement allowed Holmes to slot his second, extending the visitors’ lead to four points at the break.
A Barnes three-pointer after 49 minutes returned the deficit to a single point and the slender margin was maintained when Holmes’ latest attempt sailed wide of the uprights.
When Brumbies wing Mogg was penalised in a ruck on the halfway line, Barnes’ boot set the home pack up for a great attacking lineout. With the pick and go proving a potent attacking weapon, Polota-Nau drew in the defence, allowing Barnes to slide through the Brumbies’ midfield and crash into the post to put his side ahead for the first time after 56 minutes, converting his own effort to give his side a 15-9 lead.
But within five minutes the visitors hit back, right wing Henry Speight creeping around the NSW defence to find the tryline for his side’s first touchdown, allowing Holmes to kick his side back into the lead when he added the extras. Another Mogg penalty on 63 minutes took the scores to 15-19 and although replacement halfback Brendan McKibbin attempted a long range effort in the final 10, it drifted narrowly wide. For a moment the Brumbies looked to have put the result beyond doubt until referee Keith Brown called play back, after it was clear he had impeded the defence when he got caught in a ruck. Despite regaining possession for one last effort, the Brumbies defence held out, securing the win that looks to have sealed their progress to the finals.
Brumbies 19 (tries: Speight; cons: Holmes; pens: Holmes 2, Mogg 2) d HSBC Waratahs 15 (tries: Polota-Nau, Barnes; cons: Barnes; pens: Barnes)
Half-time: HSBC Waratahs 5 - 9 Brumbies
HSBC Waratahs: 15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs) 14. Lachie Turner (Eastwood) 13. Rob Horne (Southern Districts) 12. Berrick Barnes (Sydney University), vice captain 11. Drew Mitchell (Balmain) 10. Bernard Foley (Sydney University) 9. Grayson Hart (Southern Districts) 8. Wycliff Palu (Manly) 7. Chris Alcock (Eastwood) 6. Dave Dennis (Sydney University) 5. Kane Douglas (Southern Districts) 4. Dean Mumm (Sydney University) 3. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University) 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta) 1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood), captain
Replacements: 16. John Ulugia (Southern Districts) 17. Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University) 18. Sitaleki Timani (Southern Districts) 19. Lopeti Timani (Southern Districts) 20. Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs) 21. Tom Carter (Sydney University) 22. Tom Kingston (Sydney University)
Brumbies: 15. Robbie Coleman, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Jesse Mogg, 10. Zack Holmes, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen (c), 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander
Replacements: 16. Anthony Hegaty, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Leon Power, 19. Ita Vaea, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Tevita Kuridrani, 22. Cam Crawford
Yellow cards: None
Referee: Keith Brown (NZL)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees & Julian Pritchard (AUS)
Man of the match: Tatafu Polota-Nau
Grayson Hart will make his NSW debut when the HSBC Waratahs take on the table-topping Brumbies at ANZ Stadium this Saturday evening (7.40pm).
A traditional part of the HSBC Waratahs calendar, this Saturday’s fixture against the Brumbies is Rugby Reunion Night, a chance for rugby players and supporters of all ages to wear their old club colours and reunite with their former rugby mates.
This year’s event also includes the annual Junior Clubs’ March Past, with hundreds of participants from junior rugby clubs across NSW expected to wear their colours and display their banners as they march around the stadium prior to the HSBC Waratahs’ final home FxPro Super Rugby match of the season. The march past commences at 6.20pm with the main game kicking off at 7.40pm.
To celebrate prop Benn Robinson achieving his NSW century, members of Shute Shield clubs will be able to claim a 50% discount off adult and child ticket prices, meaning adults can watch the match for just $10 and children $5.
Tickets for the match are available online fromTicketek, priced from $20 for adults, $10 for children and $50 for a family of four.For transport information call 132 849 or visit the match daysection of HSBC Waratahs website.