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Five things we learnt from Waratahs-Hurricanes

Sat, 14/05/2022, 12:36 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Waratahs hosted the Hurricanes at Leichhardt Oval

The Waratahs looked set for another incredible Leichhardt victory but ultimately fell short as the Hurricanes snatched the 22-18 win at the death.

They controlled the contest in the first half, however, had no answer when the visitors lifted their intensity and found another gear.

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So what did we learn?

1.Tale of two halves

For the first 40 minutes, the Waratahs looked like world-beaters out to send a message to the rest of the competition. The next 40? Evidence there is still plenty of improvements left in the side.

Dane Coles noted after the game it was one of the better Waratah sides he had faced as they look like a completely different team who conceded 64 points in their last encounter.

Ultimately, it meant little in the end as the superior fitness and skills of the Hurricanes shone through to get the win.

It was something the Waratahs were able to negate against the Crusaders, largely saved by the bell, but showed just how far is left to contend with the best.

2.Perese problems

The biggest loss for the Waratahs might not have come on the scoreboard if Izaia Perese is out long-term.

Perese was unstoppable, producing a number of world-class plays to put the Waratahs on the front foot, setting up a try-of-the-year contender for Dylan Pietsch

However, it all came to a sudden halt when his chip and chase found the hands of Aidan Morgan and his knee collided awkwardly with the flyhalf, leaving him in agony on the ground.

Coleman after the game confirmed an MCL injury for Perese, leaving him at long odds for the rest of the season and racing the clock for England.

3. Finishers

The Hurricanes showed why they are one of the dark horses for the title with yet another second-half comeback.

They gave the Waratahs a taste of what the Reds experienced in Super Round, staying calm despite not touching the ball in the first 20 minutes.

Needing a response late, there was no one surprised to see the inspirational Ardie Savea come up with the game-sealing play as he dived over the line.

It all of a sudden sets them up for an unlikely top four finish, with games against the Rebels and Western Force to round out the season.

4. Natural entertainers

When the Waratahs are on, they play the type of Rugby that will fill any stadium, let along the hill at Leichhardt.

This was typified by Perese’s solo effort as he snatched onto a long pass from Charlie Gamble throwing the freak offload to Dylan Pietsch to finish off one of the tries of the year.

This coupled with the likes of Gamble and Jed Holloway throwing 20 metre cut out balls to set up chances shows how far the skill development has come for the Waratahs in such a short time.

5. Dominance

The Waratahs first half scrummaging performance was one of the best you will see from an Australian side in a long time.

In total, they earned five penalties, four long arm and one short arm, as Angus Bell, Dave Porecki and Archer Holz bullied their much-fancied opposition.

They were denied once but found their way over the line through Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, giving Jason Holland little option but to pull his front-rowers inside 35 minutes.

It fell away towards the start of the first but it was a sign of how good this Waratahs pack can be even without Johnson-Holmes, Hanigan and Hooper

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