Five things we learnt from NSW Waratahs - ACT Brumbies

Sat, May 11, 2024, 11:36 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Saturday's match in Sydney had it all as the ACT Brumbies defeated the NSW Waratahs 29-21.

From kit clashes to soaking conditions, it was a crazy contest that delivered some quality moments for the 12,562 in attendance, only for the visitors to deliver the winning blow right at the end.

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So what did we learn?

1. Singing in the rain

There’s nothing like playing in the wet as the Waratahs and Brumbies defied the conditions to play some entertaining footy.

Players were sliding around after every hit, the ball was skidding across the park and the lines were distorted to such a degree that you could barely make out the try-line when Sefo Kautai scored late

Despite this, it was a high-quality showing from both sides, who endeavoured to throw the ball around.

Between this game and the Force-Drua game earlier in the year, it’s put the Pacific (as in ocean) into Super Rugby Pacific 

2. Classy Ikitau

Len Ikitau continues to show why he is one of the best outside centres in the world.

Ikitau just oozes class whenever he touches the ball and he sparked the Brumbies second-half surge with a lovely grubber to Ollie Sapsford, forcing the five metre scrum that led to Valetini’s try.

He then finished perfectly in the corner as he beat a hobbling Charlie Gamble to slide over.

Ikitau’s form is undeniable and he should be one of the first picked by Joe Schmidt come Wallaby season.

3. Finals start now

The Waratahs are running out of time if they want to make a miraculous finals push.

Once again, they lost the close one after doing such good work to fight back into the match.

The next fortnight of games is arguably their easiest of the year (in terms of ladder position) as they go on the road to face the Western Force and Moana Pasifika.

They need victories and if they can produce the same performance as they did in the final 30 minutes, they’ll go a long towards securing those crucial points.

4. Cursed

It’s confirmed: All 11 contracted front-rowers for the Waratahs are injured after Hayden Thompson-Stringer and Harry Johnson-Holmes completed one of the worst injury runs a team has ever faced.

Thompson-Stringer went down with a knee injury before the game and Johnson-Holmes’ face told the story as he recognised instantly something was wrong with a potential Achilles injury.

It’s a sign of the tough workload asked of Johnson-Holmes after major minutes over the past weeks.

There needs to be a serious investigation into the Waratahs’ processes because whilst there are elements of bad luck, no team should ever be close to this situation.

5. Co-ordinate your kits

The Indigenous jerseys for both sides were a great touch but left fans scratching their hands whenever a break was made thanks to the striking similarities.

On the wide shot, they were almost identical, right down to the shorts and socks.

Culture Round has brought out some great jerseys, particularly the retro one in NZ.

But next time, work together on your plans.

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