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Foley points finger at skills as Tahs crash again

Date

Josh Rakic

HIGHLANDERS 18 WARATAHS 17

Stretchered off ... Pat McCutcheon of the Waratahs suffers a serious knee injury after scoring a try.

Stretchered off ... Pat McCutcheon of the Waratahs suffers a serious knee injury after scoring a try. Photo: Getty Images

WARATAHS coach Michael Foley says poor execution and not lack of effort is what led to the NSW side's second loss from three matches this season.

MATCH STATS

''Both teams were out on their feet at the end of the game and we put a lot of pressure on them, but there were key times where we weren't able to execute how we would have liked,'' Foley said after last night's loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Rob Horne of the Waratahs is tackled by Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders.

Rob Horne of the Waratahs is tackled by Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images

''And they're the things we've got to work on. To create the pressure we created, that takes a lot of guts and a lot of character, but we were just down on execution and than meant while we created momentum we weren't able to finish it off.''

The game might well have been sheltered from the torrid Dunedin weather at the roofed Forsyth Barr Stadium but for fans there was no respite from an average game of rugby. Both sides continually kicked away possession from inside there own half.

Ironically, however, it was the boot of Daniel Halangahu that kept the Waratahs in the match. He scored 12 of the Waratahs' 17 points from penalty goals.

Aaron Smith of the Highlanders scores his team's only try.

Aaron Smith of the Highlanders scores his team's only try. Photo: Getty Images

The Tahs' only try came through a charge-down by breakaway Pat McCutcheon in a match that became more a battle of patience and fitness than skill. Foley commended his team's effort and defended kicking away possession late in the match on several occasions.

''We had the ball inside our 22 a few times late in the game but they had a pretty good wall of defence, and I think a couple of those kicks set up the opportunity for us to have a scrum where we still had an opportunity to win the game,'' Foley said. ''I don't think kicking was the issue - the execution around the set-piece and on attacking plays probably let us down at time. We got momentum a lot of the times without the ball and that probably took its toll late in the game.''

The Highlanders were all-powerful at the breakdown and left the visitors with slow ball, if it all.

Lopeti Timani of the Waratahs is tackled by Josh Bekhuis of the Highlanders. Click for more photos

Waratahs lose thriller to Highlanders

Waratahs go down by the narrowest margin to the Highlanders in a bruising encounter. Photo: Getty Images

But it wasn't the plethora of Wallabies and All Blacks on the pitch that stood out, but referee Bryce Lawrence who took centre stage. He blew the pea from the whistle in a match that featured almost as many penalties as points on the scoreboard.

The Waratahs could not take a trick from Lawrence, copping seven penalties in the first half and 13 of a total of 22 by the end of the match. Even this scribe's Kiwi counterparts were bewildered by the Dummy's Guide to Rugby Laws rhetoric as he lectured players on both sides at every opportunity. His refereeing made for a stop-start game duller than the weather outside.

Foley refused to pass comment on Lawrence's performance.

''I think referees call it as they see it. There is a real attention to detail at the breakdown at the moment, which makes their lives really difficult. They are almost being compelled to make decisions at times.

'' I think in an attempt to keep the game open, the level of detail in which they are looking to scrutinise can be very, very challenging.

''I don't have any criticism of the referee but there are probably times where things are being seen in the spur of the moment that are very difficult for the referee to determine exactly what has happened, and they are compelled to make a call.

''People are challenging each other in that area more and more and there are some obvious things that need to be penalised and there are some other things that maybe aren't as clear cut. The referee tonight wasn't the factor. The Highlanders were just better at keeping on the pressure at key times.''

In the first half alone, an ill-disciplined and at times unlucky Waratahs outfit were forced to make three times as many tackles as their rivals, with the tally finishing on 75 to 26. Their lineouts were penalised twice and they coughed up the ball at another.

In the end it was the Highlanders' two tries to the Waratahs' one that sealed the match, Aaron Smith and John Hardie doing the honours. Colin Slade took care of kicking duties.

Returned playmaker Berrick Barnes barely saw the ball.

HIGHLANDERS 18 (John Hardie, Aaron Smith tries Colin Slade con 2 pens) bt NSW WARATAHS 17 (Patrick McCutcheon try Daniel Halangahu 4 pens) at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Referee: Bryce Lawrence.

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
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Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
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Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
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