NSW Waratahs claim interstate derby

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The NSW Waratahs stretched their dominance over the Queensland Reds to five games, with a 20-point win at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Three unanswered first half tries proved the difference for the home side, who survived a late fightback from Queensland to take a bonus point win.

Four penalties against the visitors in the opening eight minutes gave the Waratahs possession and territory and they didn’t take long to maximise their chances.

Nine minutes in, the Waratahs showed it’s not just Canberrans who can produce a strong rolling maul, with captain Michael Hooper finishing a Waratahs set piece for their first try.

Just four minutes later, Queensland found themselves a man down when interim captain Rob Simmons was shown a yellow card after repeated infringements.

Queensland managed to win a scrum despite the one-man deficit, reinforcing the threat that their set piece poses in Super Rugby.

Similarly to 2015, the Reds struggled to translate that set piece advantage into serious attacking potency as the Waratahs piled on the early points.

Some desperate defence from Kurtley Beale stopped a certain try for bullocking winger Chris Feauai-Sautia before the Waratahs flyhalf won the turnover.

Japanese sensation Ayumu Goromaru made his way into Super Rugby in the 26th minute after inside centre Henry Taefu was taken off with injury, shifting Karmichael Hunt into the centres.

The Test fullback broke the Reds’ scoring deadlock in the 46th minute, slotting a penalty goal for Queensland and put pressure on the Waratahs with some long field kicking.

Queensland wrestled back momentum early in the second half, swinging the possession to their advantage but the Waratahs’ defence held the Reds out under pressure.

Reds flyhalf Jake McIntyre cut the margin to just 10 points after slipping through a gaping hole in the Waratahs defence.

Nick Phipps replied almost immediately after to ensure the Waratahs won an attacking bonus point for scoring three more tries than their opponents.

In a pleasing sign for the Waratahs, Israel Folau made it through his first full match since the Rugby World Cup, after off-season ankle surgery.

Folau finished with eight  runs for 105 metres, the most on the ground, while ex-All Blacks winger Zac Guildford showed plenty of X-factor with eight runs for 73 metres and a try assist.

NRL convert Reece Robinson will have to wait another week to make his debut for the Waratahs, sitting on the bench for the full match.

Developing number eight Jed Holloway showed more promise as Wycliff Palu's heir apparent in a barnstorming performance on Saturday night.

The Waratahs face the Brumbies at GIO Stadium next Friday night, while the Reds take on the Force in Brisbane on Saturday night.