Waratahs win close trial in Wagga

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs clinched a narrow 21-17 win in their opening trial against the Brumbies.

The Brumbies led for all but the final minute of the match, when NSW prop Angus Ta’avao stole the victory for the Waratahs.

The NSW side were up against it after losing captain Dave Dennis early in the piece with a concussion.

Dennis came out worse for wear after a clash with Nigel Ah Wong in just the second minute of the game, giving youngster Brad Wilkin his first taste of Super Rugby.

ACT took the early advantage scoring the opening two tries of the match to take a 5-0 lead into the first quarter break, courtesy of a Josh Mann-Rea score.

From there the Brumbies led for almost the entire match, with tries from Michael Wells and Allan Alaalatoa stretching their lead.

It was the Waratahs’ new recruits that stood out with Zac Guildford and Reece Robinson impressing in attack.

New recruit Bryce Hegarty scored his first Waratahs try in the 68th minute, drawing NSW closer in the dying stages.

It was Ta’avao that finished off the match-winning play though, putting the Waratahs in front for the first time.

Emerging Waratah David Horwitz showed some potential in the win, contributing with a try as well, while Andrew Deegan slotted a conversion under pressure.

Sam Carter’s game for the Brumbies gave fans plenty of optimism, with the lock looking to be back in strong form after missing much of the 2015 season with a knee injury.

The Brumbies will play the Reds next Friday night at Ballymore, while the Waratahs head to New Zealand to take on the Chiefs.