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Tahs stage greatest escape to down Reds

Date

Rupert Guinness

The Waratahs set a new Super 14 benchmark for escaping from jail last night by coming from behind - and with one player in the sin bin - in the final minute of their season opener against the Queensland Reds to come out 30-28 winners at Suncorp Stadium.

In a game that was otherwise dominated by Queensland passion, initiation and physicality, the Waratahs were 23-28 down with 11 minutes to go and looking set be on the receiving end of their first loss to the Reds since 2004.

But a barging try by No. 8 Wycliff Palu - who had returned from the blood bin after a head clash with second-rower Will Caldwell earlier - suddenly brought the two sides level at 28-28, with only reserve five-eighth Daniel Halangahu's conversion on the bell need to seal the win.

The image of their former favourite son, Berrick Barnes, punching his fist in jubilation as their win was official would have only made Queensland's pain even worse.

But the look of disappointment and shock on the Reds, who led 10-6 at half-time, belied the reward they otherwise deserved for a game that saw them score three tries to two.

The Queenslanders started the second half with the same intensity and were rewarded with their second try by captain James Horwill at the 43rd minute from the back of the maul. He crashed over to score, leaving the Reds up 15-6 after Quade Cooper's conversion attempt went astray.

It was in an attempt to stop Horwill that Palu and Caldwell clashed heads in their attempt to stop Horwill crossing over.

Until then Barnes had kept the Waratahs in the match with his goal kicking. For the night the former Red kicked four penalty goals and one drop goal.

At the 65th minute, NSW were still only three points down at 18-21 after Halangahu, who had come on for Barnes, potted his first penalty attempt.

But then came the real heart-breaker at the 69th minute - a penalty try awarded to the Reds against NSW reserve flanker Ben Mowen for deliberately punching the ball into touch after a helter-skelter chase with Reds No.9 Will Genia. Converted, the Waratahs were then chasing an 18-28 scoreline.

Amazingly, NSW were still able to stay in the hunt, and their first try by reserve back Rory Sidey, while uncoverted, narrowed the score to 23-28. But as was the case all night for NSW, for every gain there was a loss. And Dean Mumm's yellow card at the 75th minute was their next major blow.

The match was scoreless after 18 minutes, although Queensland had the majority of possession and unleashed a bevy of runs and slick interplay between their support players. But NSW keeping the Reds out was a testimony to their strong defence.

The Waratahs were first to score with the meagre ball they had. Barnes kicked a drop goal in the 19th minute when referee Craig Joubert played the advantage for a Reds infringement. To a chorus of boos from the Reds crowd that Barnes heard all night, his clean kick put the Waratahs up 3-0.

The first half was a volatile affair from the start, as Barnes discovered when Reds loosehead Ben Daley finished off his tackle on him soon after kick-off by throwing a punch at the NSW No.10. Two metres away, a flurry of punches and shoves erupted among the two forward packs.

As expected there was plenty of niggle, and to the Reds' credit they too did well to keep NSW out when they ventured into their half.

The intensity mounted, and appeared to go to excess at the 20th minute - just after Barnes' drop goal - when Joubert stopped play to alert the Reds to an allegation of biting against Reds second-rower Adam Byrnes on Caldwell's finger. Joubert said he had not seen the alleged incident, but asked Byrnes and Horwill to look at Caldwell's finger.

''That's completely unacceptable,'' Joubert said to Horwill and Byrnes. ''If I see it [happen] it's a red card.''

The incident didn't dissuade the Reds though. In the 21st minute Daniel Braid ran from seven metres out and barged through Drew Mitchell and Tom Carter to score.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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