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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 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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
WAR vs STO 20:40AS
FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
BUL vs RED 04:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:55GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
WAR vs REB 20:55ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
RED vs HUR 17:05SS
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
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
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
RED vs REB 20:40SS
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 20:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
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
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
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
STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 20:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 6 6 0 0 85 27
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
Waratahs 6 4 2 0 36 18
Highlanders 6 4 2 0 22 20
Stormers 6 4 2 0 15 16
View all
 
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