Five things we learnt from NSW Waratahs - Queensland Reds

Fri, May 31, 2024, 11:31 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Reds narrowly held on to defeat the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images
The Reds narrowly held on to defeat the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs nearly pulled off the dream ending for coach Darren Coleman against arch-rivals Queensland Reds.

However, the 27-26 defeat was the story of their season after yet another second-half comeback ended in a heartbreaking defeat for the hosts.

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So what did we learn?

1. Fighting for DC

The Waratahs refused to die wondering for their coach Darren Coleman, although it’ll feel like Groundhog Day after yet another tight loss.

Once again, they hit the front late but couldn’t get the win, their fourth loss by a margin of three or less in the season.

Coleman came into the role three years ago tasked with turning around a winless side and whilst they stay in the same position on the ladder as he inherited them, it’s a vastly different situation.

Guys like Lalakai Foketi and Langi Gleeson are established international stars whilst Lachie Swinton, Dylan Pietsch and Ned Hanigan are in career-best form this season.

Performances like tonight showed the talent that the club possesses. The next coach is tasked with turning these close losses into wins

2. Fraser calls game 

The Reds will be thanking Fraser McReight for saving their blushes in Sydney with another piece of brilliance.

The backrower timed his moment perfectly to get the game-sealing turnover well after the siren. There was no fear of penalty or infringement, just a world-class pilfer machine with a perfect sense for the moment.

He was a monster in defence with 27 tackles, including several late in the game as the Waratahs came home firing.

Tom Lynagh also deserves special mention, with the young flyhalf putting aside an earlier miss to nail a penalty close to halfway to restore their lead.

3. Bowen announces himself

Jack Bowen proved himself as a potential future star of the Waratahs for the next decade with a sensational performance in his debut start.

His ball to put Jake Gordon through a hole early on settled the nerves whilst delivering a great pass to set up Jed Holloway just after the break to spark the comeback.

Bowen then crossed for his own try when he won the race to Joey Walton’s kick, before kicking the Waratahs into the lead with a clutch sideline conversion.

On top of this, the 20-year-old’s boot got the Waratahs into great positions constantly as he made his mark on the game.

With Will Harrison on the move and chat around Carter Gordon heading to the Waratahs, Bowen made his mark tonight.

4. Second half slip concern for Reds

The Reds let a golden position slip as they turn their focus to the finals.

Up 19-0 after 20 minutes, the Reds seemed to be rolling away with the win before they were caught napping after the break.

Their first half was electric as they sliced through the Waratahs with ease but it seemed like their mind had already turned to next week as the hosts’ forwards bashed their way into the contest.

Les Kiss said post-match that he expected the Waratahs to fight back like they did, although they can’t afford a similar lapse against a quality Chiefs outfit, who will be coming off two tough games against the Hurricanes and Blues.

5. Tate takes fierce scrumhalf battle

The competition around the nine jersey in Australia is a joy to see, with Tate McDermott and Jake Gordon delivering an entertaining head-to-head battle.

The Reds co-captain drew first blood with an early break before catching the Waratahs napping with a quick tap to extend the lead. Gordon is the ultimate competitor and tried to singlehandedly will the Waratahs back into the contest.

However, the points went to McDermott on the back of a lethal Reds backline, setting up Hunter Paisami for the killer blow

With another battle looming in the west between Nic White and Ryan Lonergan, there’s plenty of quality and there will be a seriously good half that misses out when Joe Schmidt 

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