Waratahs win big in Tokyo

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs have won their third match in a row in 2018, with a 50-29 win over the Sunwolves.

If attacking rugby is what the people want, then the Waratahs and Sunwolves surely delivered on Saturday afternoon.

By half-time, the Waratahs had 38 points, their second-highest tally in 16 years, and the Sunwolves notched up their own solid tally, in a game that was far from the grind of Canberra a week ago.

NSW’s score, their second-highest of the year, was enough for the Waratahs to snatch a crucial bonus point, scoring seven tries to four.

Waratahs players and coaches predicted speed from their opponents all week, but the Sunwolves still managed to surprise them somewhat with a frenetic start to the game, a pace that they kept up for most of the afternoon.

But it was the Waratahs’ combination of size and speed , in the form of Taqele Naiyaravoro, that put them on top first.

Taqele Naiyaravaro was a monster early on. Photo: Getty ImagesNaiyaravoro pulled out another skills special, beating four defenders and popping an inside pass over the top into Bernard Foley’s hands, with halfback Jake Gordon finishing off the work, in a game that reinforced his growing stature in Super Rugby.

It didn’t take long for the Japanese side to hit back, with the Waratahs making basic errors and paying with penalties at scrum time, as Michael Little finished off some solid set play from the Sunwolves.

When the Waratahs had a chance to add three points, they took it immediately, Bernard Foley giving NSW a small buffer, and then the Waratahs’ attacking weapons began to stand up.

First, it was Curtis Rona who slipped through a gap to score, before Will Miller snatched an intercept on the way to his first Waratahs try.


 The Sunwolves showed off their own attacking prowess, with Sam Wykes finishing off a 70-metre effort to narrow that gap and keep the heat on the visitors.

Gordon showed his trademark finishing abilities, going through a gap off the back of the scrum, against the run of play, before a clever Kurtley Beale offload put Bryce Hegarty on the score sheet and opened a 38-17 half-time gap.

It took the Waratahs just four minutes after the break to add to their tally, with Michael Hooper scoring in a driving maul, as his involvement in the game began to increase.

The Sunwolves never stopped fighting, with a spectacular try from Sunwolves winger Semisi Masirewa, including a cheeky step out of the clutches of Naiyaravoro.

NSW were left a man down after skipper Michael Hooper was yellow-carded for a cynical foul deep in the Sunwolves’ attacking territory, and the home side capitalised immediately, through no. 8 Kazuki HImeno.

Taqele Naiyaravoro saved a final impressive effort until the dying moments, for the game-sealer.

The Waratahs head back to Sydney next week, to take on the Reds at the SCG in their heritage round.

RESULT

Sunwolves 29

Tries: Little, Wykes, Masirewa, Himeno

Cons: Tamura 2, Parker

Pens: Tamura

Waratahs 50

Tries: Gordon 2, Rona, Miller, Hegarty, Hooper, Naiyaravoro

Cons: Foley 6

Pens: Foley

Yellow Card: Hooper (64’)