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Beginning of 'new' season ends with the same old result

Date

Georgina Robinson

White hot ... Dave Dennis is halted by the Brumbies' halfback Nick White.

White hot ... Dave Dennis is halted by the Brumbies' halfback Nick White. Photo: Getty Images

Waratahs 15  Brumbies 19

SEVENTEEN rounds in but last night's derby match against the Brumbies was the start of the Waratahs' ''new season'', according to coach Michael Foley in the match-day program. Which meant, one must assume, a chance after a month-long break and six straight losses to start afresh, select from left of field and shake off that losing feeling.

MATCH STATS/AS IT HAPPENED

Cheerful ... Tatafu Polota-Nau scores the Waratahs' opening try against the Brumbies. Unfortunately his side was unable to score enough points to claim the match.

Cheerful ... Tatafu Polota-Nau scores the Waratahs' opening try against the Brumbies. Unfortunately his side was unable to score enough points to claim the match. Photo: Getty Images

New season, same old season. In the end it was better but not quite enough. Despite dominating possession and territory and scoring two tries to the Brumbies' one, penalties and handling errors in the crucial final minutes allowed drought-breaking victory to elude the Waratahs for the seventh game in a row.

As Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said, it ''wasn't exactly the victory we were after'' but the Australian conference leaders defended to within an inch of their lives to hold the Waratahs off for much of the match and consolidate their place in the Super Rugby finals with a four-point win.

Their coach, Jake White, pointed out after the game that it was the ninth straight game in which the Brumbies had held their opponents scoreless in the final 20 minutes.

It was a streak of a different sort for the Waratahs, who lost another close one not because their opponents played that much better but because they just couldn't play well enough. Two tries, a moderate penalty count and a six-point lead at one stage didn't cut it against the Australian conference leaders.

Coach Michael Foley and captain Benn Robinson pinpointed losing possession on the restart as the side's defining weakness last night.

''Securing that possession is critical,'' Foley said. ''If you don't, obviously they get the possession and they're in your half and that swings the momentum of the game. That happened to us probably two or three times in the game and [when] you're playing the best side in Australia, the margins are going to be fine and you need to win those little moments.''

Robinson, who played his 100th game for NSW last night, said turnovers compounded their difficulties.

''The restarts were pretty disappointing, it took us a while to adapt and get back into the game, but it's hard after scoring points to get back into the game when we were turning it over on our [22m] line,'' he said.

For NSW, it was never about a finals berth but it was about pride. They didn't win it back entirely but there were glimpses of some long-lost attacking credibility - thanks to tries to hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and inside-centre Berrick Barnes - and, at the very least, a lot for coach Michael Foley to think about over the next few months. New halfback Grayson Hart performed solidly for his part in the match and fullback-turned-five-eighth Bernard Foley gave the home side some hard running edge.

Foley praised his halves combination and said he was proud of the team for not surrendering when the finals were out of reach.

''It's hard because I've sat here a number of times next to Benn and we've talked about close losses but I give the guys a lot of credit, I think a lot of teams fade away [and] that was a much stronger performance than our last outing and I would like to think that's a step towards an even better performance next week,'' he said.

A try in the second half to Brumbies winger Henry Speight kept the Brumbies in the match and the boots of five-eighth Zack Holmes and fullback Jesse Mogg made up the difference and then some.

Polota-Nau was taken off the field in the second half with a corked glute but should be fine to play the Reds this week. Wycliff Palu has a more concerning shoulder injury, Foley said.

BRUMBIES 19 (Henry Speight try Zack Holmes con Holmes 2, Jesse Mogg 2 pens) bt NSW WARATAHS 15 (Berrick Barnes, Tatafu Polota-Nau tries Barnes con pen) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Keith Brown. Crowd: 22,844.

 

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Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
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FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
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LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
BUL vs RED 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
RED vs HUR 17:05SS
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
RED vs REB 20:40SS
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 20:40SS
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WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
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STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
RED vs CHF 20:40SS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
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BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
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Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 21
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Brumbies 6 4 2 0 73 20
Sharks 7 4 3 0 11 19
Chiefs 7 5 2 0 46 24
Bulls 6 4 2 0 24 18
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