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Canes blow away Tahs


Georgina Robinson


Drew Mitchell of the Waratahs makes a break.

Drew Mitchell of the Waratahs makes a break. Photo: Getty Images

MICHAEL FOLEY will face fresh scrutiny following the Waratahs’ sixth straight loss in front of a dwindling home crowd in Sydney last night. The Waratahs failed once more to learn the crucial lessons from their nine previous losses this season and allowed the Hurricanes to walk all over them, four tries to none, in a joyless 21-point loss filled with opportunities but precious few points.


It was their 10th loss in 14 rounds and gave the past week’s admissions of failure and plaintive appeals for home-town support – sincere as they were – a hollow quality.

Sarel Pretorius of the Waratahs struggled in the slippery conditions.

Sarel Pretorius of the Waratahs struggled in the slippery conditions. Photo: Getty Images

No one thought it would be this bad. As challenged as the squad was early on in the season, with the loss through injury of so much experience and Test-hardened talent, there have been 10 games now since the Waratahs’ self-described breakthrough win over the Sharks at Allianz Stadium at the end of March.

That’s 10 opportunities to consolidate and improve on elements of a winning formula, 10 opportunities for combinations to click and 10 opportunities to get on the right side of those one-, three- and seven-point margins that have plagued them.

Foley said it was clear the squad needed ‘‘to change a few things’’ before the final two games of the season in a month. But he appealed for his own players as well as outside observers to take a medium-term view on his side’s success or otherwise.

Berrick Barnes of the Waratahs passes as he is tackled.

Berrick Barnes of the Waratahs passes as he is tackled. Photo: Getty Images

 ‘‘I think it’s important for the players to keep focused and to keep fighting,’’ Foley said.

‘‘It’s a very, very disappointing season for everyone but out of that you can learn things and I think a team exists and has a life outside of one season and that’s a very, very important thing [to recognise] for us to be able to shed the baggage and to grow from here on in.’’

The Waratahs need to work out exactly what is going wrong. Foley said he believed the pressure of mounting losses and public scrutiny might have affected the squad but both he and captain Benn Robinson said it was hard to pinpoint the cause of last night’s failure.

 ‘‘It’s hard to discern at times whether we’re making the errors on the back of the pressure coming into the games, the pressure that’s built in the game or is it just a skill issue,’’ Foley said. ‘‘I think in many instances it’s not just a skill issue but it’s probably a mentality issue and I think we can work on those things, as we can with skill. It’s just harder to identify those things because they don’t necessarily present as obviously.’’

This was an embarrassing, wet, error-ridden display in which the Waratahs maul – so often a point of pride this season – was continually driven metres back.

The points went the Waratahs’ way early on, with three successful penalty goals to five-eighth Berrick Barnes keeping the home side within four points of the Hurricanes at the break. A try to Hurricanes winger Julian Savea with seven minutes to go was the only first-half five-pointer.

While the Hurricanes piled on three second-half tries, the Waratahs settled for a single penalty goal. The ball was slippery in both sides’ hands but only the Hurricanes overcame that challenge. It became a familiar, agonising pattern for the Tahs. Gain metres, lose possession. On contact or, so often, off slippery hands.

The Waratahs’ pride, talked up all week, was muddied, bruised and flattened into the ground with tries to replacement hooker Motu Matu’u, captain Conrad Smith and Chris Eaton, his bonus-point fourth try right on the bell pouring salt into a gaping wound.

HURRICANES 33 (Chris Eaton, Motu Matu'u, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith tries Beauden Barrett 2 cons 3 pens) bt NSW WARATAHS 12 (Berrick Barnes 4 pens) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Bryce Lawrence. Crowd: 13,372.


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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
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RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
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FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
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IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
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