Brumbies vs Waratahs: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs took a 24-17 win over the Brumbies on Saturday night.

What are we talking about after that match?

1. Folau-free Waratahs pull it out of the bag

There would have been times in 2017 where the loss of Israel Folau just four minutes into a match might have unravelled the Waratahs. On Saturday night, they didn’t let the loss of their superstar spell the end for them, looking in the first half to continue with their attacking intent. As the match went on, things turned into more of a grind, but they should take plenty of confidence out of managing to cope without Folau. Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said post-match Folau was looking at a possible month out with the injury 

2. Waratahs’ forwards step up

The Waratahs' forward pack is beginning to show some true grit as the season goes on. It was an area of the side that looked to lack punch on paper, but they have proved pundits wrong. They managed to do that again in Canberra, winning a critical

3. Pocock looks ominous in return match

David Pocock made his Super Ruby return on Saturday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyDavid Pocock made solid return to Australian rugby on Saturday night, in his first match for the Brumbies in 18 months and his 100th Super Rugby match. The openside wasn’t exactly a game changer against the Waratahs and in fact was at times shaded by his opposite number in Michael Hooper, but he was certainly involved. The flanker found a good time to get a turnover in the second half, with the Brumbies under pressure and four points down in the final five minutes. That he played a full 80 minutes should be a positive in itself, with the seven clearly not lacking in fitness despite his injury layoff.

4. Brumbies’ finals hopes fading

The Brumbies came into this season with plenty of expectation, having been the top Australian team in recent season. With a 2-3 record after seven rounds, their season isn’t over yet, but a second consecutive derby, against the Reds next week, will be a do-or-die for the Canberrans as they face a growing gap between themselves and the current prospective Australian finalists.

5. Big milestone on a patchy night for Foley

Bernard Foley racked up his 800th point for the Waratahs on Saturday night, making him the youngest player to reach that feat. In front of goals he finished with a 5/9 record, but the flyhalf helped set up Naiyaravoro’s second try, with a slick set play, and was solid with his in-field kicks. Though his return wasn’t ideal, his skipper Michael Hooper wasn’t worried by the stats tonight. “For Bernard, outstanding achievement for him but that guy's got a knack of kicking the goals that matter and he kicked that hard one right at the end to stretch us out to seven in front,” he said. “ He's very good in the clutch moments and he always gets them when it counts and I can count him all the time, look to him to go for the goal. Outstanding player, great temperament.”