It was another comeback left a little too late.
What did we learn from the Waratahs' loss to the Blues?
1. Groundhog day
The Waratahs outscored the Blues five tries to four, albeit with three of those in the last 15 minutes, but were left to rue a sluggish opening half, where they coughed up possession and conceded 26 unanswered points. It’s been the story of their 2017 season and though their
2. Turn a corner, hit a brick wall
Winning one game is hard enough but trying to string back-to-back wins together is proving near impossible for the Waratahs. An emotional victory over Queensland looked like it could be the turning point for the season, but that moment quickly evaporated in the opening half against the Blues.
3. Use the boots carefully
They put the box kicks in their back pocket ahead of the Kings game and maybe the Waratahs need to put a few other boot tactics on the back burner. Coach Daryl Gibson said it best when asked after half-time about where his team could improve and he said, ‘hold on to the ball’. Right on cue his side let a long one off the boot, gifting the Blues possession again. The irony, of course, is that Piers Francis' 20-point tally off his own boot proved the killer blow.
4. Finals quirk could hurt Blues.
The Blues have beaten Australia’s top two sides away from home in consecutive weeks and sit above all the Aussie teams when it comes to competition points, but Super Rugby’s finals format means they could still be finals spectators. The Australian conference leader is guaranteed a home final, while one of the New Zealand teams will miss out, based on automatic qualification and wildcards, despite holding a 17-0 win-loss record over Australian opposition. It’s a funny game, rugby.
5. Blues brothers too good
The Ioane brothers just keep getting better and better. A double for Rieko and a third from Akira proved critical in the Kiwis’ win. Rieko had 170 run metres in the clash, only further enhancing his reputation as an attacking weapon. The scariest thing? Akira is the eldest of the two and he’s just 21. This pair will be terrorising oppositions for a decade to come.