JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

NSW Waratahs duo Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper in line for Wallabies selection

Tight Five

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Waratahs win maiden title

NSW win the Super Rugby 2014 title against the Crusaders in a thrilling 33-32 triumph at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

PT0M0S 620 349

1. Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper may be too good for the Wallabies to ignore. The final was so breathless it took repeat viewings for some of the quality to really stand out. And Beale was at the heart of it. He threw three excellent passes - one wide one to Bernard Foley was a beauty - in the build-up to Ashley-Cooper's first try. His was the first kick that sailed over Nemani Nadolo's head. His was the short ball that put Michael Hooper into a gap outside Richie McCaw. And his was the final ball to Ashley-Cooper for the No.13's second try. In essence he answered the one lingering criticism often said about his play - he looks for room for himself rather than others. It was a complete performance, with only a few handling errors in contact to displease the hard markers. Beale and Ashley-Cooper are Australia's pre-eminent centre pairing. Incumbents Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani have done little wrong, but form spoke loudly on Saturday night.

2. Bernard Foley's full range is starting to show. The restarts, the goalkicking, the ability to take on the line - what was perhaps an ability to do a number of things well last year has turned into the ability to do all things well, and under pressure. The clever little half-break in the 63rd minute, stepping this way and that through heavy traffic, was instrumental in creating the space on the outside for Ashley-Cooper. A few weeks back All Blacks coach Steven Hansen was asked to assess the coming threat of the Wallabies. He mentioned two players by name. One was Israel Folau and the other was Foley. 

3. Benn Robinson, take a bow. What would the Wallabies' front-row stocks look like if the squad had been announced after the final and not before? Robinson troubled Owen Franks at scrum time in the first half and carried with real vigour as the Waratahs established a pace the Crusaders couldn't match. For all Pek Cowan's qualities, it is hard to recall many games when set-piece work has been as convincing as Robinson at his best. And with James Slipper looking like a different beast this year, and Scott Sio growing all the time, there is a bit of depth emerging on that side of the scrum.   

Happy days: Kurtley Beale celebrates with his Waratahs teammates.

Happy days: Kurtley Beale celebrates with his Waratahs teammates. Photo: Getty Images

4. Richie McCaw has lost half a yard, and it's likely not coming back. McCaw has made mugs of everyone who has tried to identify the time line of his decline. But, like a broken clock, even flawed judgments will be right sooner or later. Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett, in a pre-game interview with a New Zealand television station, conceded McCaw has lost some pace. And from the All Blacks' end-of-season tour in 2013, he has not had the influence on games he has enjoyed in the past. Perhaps we are looking for it more now the end is much closer than the start, but there have been a number of missed tackles this year, against Tevita Li, Malakai Fekitoa and Marland Yarde. And in the 59th minute Hooper burst outside McCaw from a Beale short pass, all dynamism and pace. And that is the beauty of youth. It can be respectful of legends but not in awe. In Hooper v McCaw, Bledisloe has found another wonderful plotline.

5. Craig Joubert confirms why he is among the best. Yes, the final penalty will be debated, but there is no lingering sense of injustice. Joubert handed out penalties both ways. He rewarded the Crusaders' scrum dominance when Wyatt Crockett started to get some joy out of Sekope Kepu and pinged the Waratahs for offside to present the Crusaders with the lead with only minutes remaining. The Crusaders struggled to slow the Waratahs' ball all evening - the Tahs' ball retention was simply outstanding and has set the bar for others next year - and even when the lineout started to wobble, it was the one thing the Waratahs could go back to to build pressure. Accordingly, the McCaw decision was one Joubert would have given in the 5th minute as well the 79th. He adjudicated the same way regardless of time on the clock -  and players cannot ask for more than that.

Australian Super Rugby team of the season

Composure: Bernard Foley in action during the Waratahs' victorious final.

Composure: Bernard Foley in action during the Waratahs' victorious final. Photo: Getty Images

1. James Slipper (Reds)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs)

3. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)

15. Israel Folau (Waratahs) Click for more photos

Australian team of the tournament 2014

Paul Cully picks the best XV from the Australian conference in 2014. Photo: Getty Images

4. Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs)

5. Sam Carter (Brumbies)

6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies)

Bloodied and beaten: Crusaders veteran Richie McCaw after conceding the crucial late penalty to the Waratahs.

Bloodied and beaten: Crusaders veteran Richie McCaw after conceding the crucial late penalty to the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

7. Michael Hooper (Waratahs)

8. Wycliff Palu (Waratahs)

9. Nick Phipps (Waratahs)

10. Bernard Foley (Waratahs)

11. Nick Cummins (Western Force)

12. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs)

14. Henry Speight (Brumbies)

15. Israel Folau (Waratahs)

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Related Coverage

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
View All Fixtures
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
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers