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Waratahs lay down a marker by thumping Queensland Reds

Waratahs 32 Reds 5

Livewire: Nick Phipps looks to offload.

Livewire: Nick Phipps looks to offload. Photo: Getty Images

It isn't often second-rowers are cheered off the paddock, or any member of the tight five for that matter. But such was the impact of former Springbok Jacques Potgieter in a superb pack in the Waratahs' astonishing annihilation of the Reds that the crowd could not help but show their appreciation.

After five straight losses to the Queenslanders, the Waratahs' forwards built a destructive platform off which their ball players launched raid after devastating raid on the Reds' line.

It was the Waratahs biggest Super Rugby win over the Reds and sweet revenge on their respected but maligned interstate rivals.

Ben Tapuai of the Reds contemplates the result.

Ben Tapuai of the Reds contemplates the result. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
WAR
Score
32
Team
RED
Score
5
Waratahs versus Reds
View Match Statistics
Players Folau (2min, 25min), Betham (33min), Beale (46min) Tries 4 Tries 1 Players Turner (40min)
Players Foley 3/4 (75%) Conversions 3 Conversions 0 Players Cooper 0/1 (0%)
Players Foley 2/2 (100%) Penalty goals 2 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Drop goals 0 Drop goals 0 Players

It might have taken about 15 months, but Michael Cheika could finally have the pack he has wanted since taking charge of the Waratahs.

The NSW forwards were abrasive, athletic and dogged. They punched hole after hole in the Queensland defence with furious interplay and attacking weapons Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps benefited from it.

The result was near-total domination, as Queensland found their trademark defensive line speed no answer to a cleverly chaotic NSW attack.

Unstoppable: Israel Folau.

Unstoppable: Israel Folau. Photo: Getty Images

It took just 2½ minutes for Israel Folau to open the scoring and by the 34th minute the home team was up 19-0. Only the sin-binning of Folau, their key strike weapon, for intentionally swiping the ball into touch late in the first half, threatened to derail the NSW steam train.

But instead of withering before the overlap, the Waratahs stepped it up a notch, inside-centre Beale using impeccable judgment to take a quick tap, dummy twice and bolt over the line.

The Reds were more dangerous in the second half, ramping up the pressure in Waratahs territory, but the NSW defence held strong, securing turnovers when it counted and launching fast off their line to shut down Queensland's plays.

A late first-half try to former Waratahs winger Lachie Turner was the only bright spot in the Reds' performance.

Queensland took advantage of Folau's absence to move the ball wide where Turner waited. Five-eighth Quade Cooper - suffocated by the NSW defence for most of the evening - missed the conversion, leaving Turner's five-pointer the only mark on the Reds' side of the ledger.

Folau was once again instrumental in the Waratahs' attack, busting his way into the thick of the action to be exactly where he needed to be, at precisely the right time.

It worked the first time in the third minute after a line-bending run up the middle by Wycliff Palu.

Phipps dragged the ball out of the ruck and gave it to Foley, who delivered a flat pass to Beale. He offloaded to a waiting Folau who stormed over for his fourth try of the season. Foley couldn't convert, leaving NSW 5-0 up.

NSW were cleaner on attack but still hobbled themselves with miracle passes on occasion and a raft of penalties at the ruck inside the Reds' 22.

But the home side would not be held out, and another superb piece of link play between Foley, Potgieter and Folau delivering the dual international his second try of the match and his fifth in two games. Foley found his radar and booted NSW to a 12-0 lead.

Winger Peter Betham scored in the 34th-minute, shooting through a gaping hole left by Reds defenders marking Beale. NSW went 19-0 up after the conversion 

By this time, the Waratahs were running amok, while their defence ensured Queensland was utterly nullified in attack.

Palu showed for a second week running that he is back close to his rampaging best; Potgieter put hit after hit on unsuspecting Reds players; hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau made crucial carries and prop Benn Robinson was lethal on the ground. The NSW back row, where veteran Stephen Hoiles filled in for injured captain Dave Dennis, was excellent at the breakdown.

It was the most unified and lethal performance the team has produced under Cheika.

61 comments so far

  • Nicely described Georgina. I loved the ferocity of the whole team. Amazing driving tackle by Alofa Alofa, big body hits from every player. Hoiles drove Genia mad and he lost it big time. The tight 5 massacred the Reds 5 in every aspect except the lineout.
    In 5 years of following the Tahs this is the most complete game I've seen them play, even with a very dodgy lineout and a few errors. MOTM was impossible. Too many. The most exciting thing though was the PASSION in their performance. Looks like Cheika has found the GO button. Every single player had moments to be very proud of. Great to see and I hope they can keep it up.

    Commenter
    Chris
    Location
    Kiama
    Date and time
    March 01, 2014, 10:40PM
    • @ Chris

      True right blue... one of the most impresive and complete performances by a Tahs' side for a long, long time. Factor in the negatives, as in the line-out issuses and the odd dropped ball ... gotta say it was a satisfying all round effort by the team. Hoiles was fantastic around the fringes and Foley was masterful in running the team around the park. And GR is right with her comments about the justifiable applause Potgieter got as he left the field... extraordinary stuff.
      Now if Cliffy can stay fit and the bench players can come on and add punch and go forward grunt (Skelton et al) the Tahs are a real chance of giving this comp a good shake.
      Obviously this week and the bye will allow time for reflection as to what happen to our 'lineout' and the need to be confident enough as to not rush things, letting the game come to them.
      Well done Tahs.... bring it on, one week at a time !

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      March 02, 2014, 11:11AM
    • @ Machooka
      Izzy must be disappointed that it took him twice as long to score his first try compared to last week.

      Commenter
      Forceful Pat
      Date and time
      March 02, 2014, 12:39PM
    • Well we might as well end the season now and hand the trophy to NSW and their South African import.

      Commenter
      Andy
      Date and time
      March 02, 2014, 4:41PM
  • Great performance by the Tahs. The Queenslanders will be apoplectic. Excellent

    Commenter
    Dirk
    Date and time
    March 01, 2014, 11:49PM
    • Not really. I'm a died-in-the-wool Queenslander (despite my address). The Reds were terrible, but the Waratahs were just so impressive. As much as I wished for a Reds win, its hard to begrudge the Waratahs when they played so well. Putting allegiances aside, it was a very enjoyable performance to watch; well played to the Tahs. The Reds will be back...

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 02, 2014, 6:22PM
    • Not really. Kind of resigned to the fact that our coach may well be the muppet we think he may be. What sort of coach would play a player like Ben Tapaui, who has the potential to be the best 12 in world rugby, at centre where it is plainly obvious time and time again that he struggles with defence there. The answer of course is , a muppet.

      Commenter
      johnny-boy
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 10:47AM
    • I'm the same. Died in the wool Reds, but we were comprehensively outplayed. I will differ and say that I didn't think the Reds were awful, they simply weren't allowed into the game at all, even when Izzy was sin-binned.

      Commenter
      CrashBall
      Location
      Brizzy
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 12:17PM
  • I'm one very happy Tah fan. I've been waiting a very long time for the Tahs to work that hard as a Team instead of a bunch of gifted individuals. The up tempo way they played meant that there would be plenty of errors but also that most of them were willingly cleared-up by a fellow team member and the pressure maintained. Brilliant! Also I must tip my hat to Kurtley Beale. He has been a very welcome surprise for me. The guy is clearly thinking about the team. Keep up the good work Son!

    Commenter
    Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW
    Location
    Australia
    Date and time
    March 02, 2014, 12:13AM
    • Great game..if you were a Tahs supporter. Well done

      Commenter
      CannonballKoala, Brisbane
      Date and time
      March 02, 2014, 2:37AM

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