Force, Tahs didn't get a kick out of first up effort

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Force may have left Sydney with more frustration than the Waratahs on Saturday, but both sides agreed they were stunted by the conditions.

With new-look backlines the talk of the week, incessant rain turned the match into a forwards battle, as scrums and lineouts dominated proceedings.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson felt his side adapted in the second half, with their kicking game causing some damage in the 19-13 win.

“We clearly set a goal for us to play attacking Rugby and it is frustrating that obviously the conditions limited that ability and at times I thought we were very smart,” he said.

“Obviously we had to kick a lot more tonight, kick with some good pressure, come excellent contestable possessions.

“We put a lot of pressure on (Force fullback) Dane Haylett-Petty and I thought we did well there.

“Overall, we struggled for fluency in our attacking game. Defensively we were very disciplined and I thought our set piece at times operated well.” - Daryl Gibson

Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper echoed his coach’s thoughts, praising the side for its grit.

“You want to come out, you want to light up, you want to play your plays you’ve been practising all preseason and we weren’t able to do that,” he said.

“Neither team was able to do that. So, you frustrate yourself.

“To grind out a win like that … I’m really happy with the guys, particularly in those conditions.”

Force coach Dave Wessels said he was angry that lapses of concentration befell his side in critical moments.

“I didn’t think it was a good game of Rugby and to be honest it wasn’t the game of Rugby we came here to play either, really, but it was very hard in those conditions,” he said.

“I’m not sure how much people could see on the TV of the conditions but it was very clayey under foot and I think you saw that for both sides and it became a bit of an arm wrestle. 

“I think in the first half we defended really well but ultimately we probably lot it on the big moments.

“We lost some of our detail and I’m pretty angry about that, to be honest.”

The Force had a handful of relatively new faces in their side, including NRC products Isi Naisarani and Australia U20s prop Shambeckler Vui, and Wessels said while he was pleased with their energy, he lamented some of his side's execution under pressure.

“In some ways I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of the guys but we’re a young side and we’ve just got to learn that detail matters.” Dave Wessels.

“We gave away penalties and we lost possession, doing things that we know we should be doing better.”

 

Loved being back in the Blue Jersey with the brothers. Thanks to all the fans who came out to support @nswwaratahs

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Neither side had any major injury concerns out of the Allianz Stadium clash, but both could welcome back big names for round two.

Waratahs playmaker Bernard Foley will travel with the team to South Africa on Sunday, along with squad additions Cam Clark, Damien Fitzpatrick and young loose forward Maclean Jones.

Matt Hodgson is in line for a return to the starting Force lineup, when they take on the Reds on Thursday night.

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