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Visitors barge over to leave Tahs scratching their heads

Date

Greg Growden

Not quite enough ... Tom Kingston cheers on Rob Horne as he streaked through for a try in the first half. However, despite a radical reshuffle, the Waratahs were unable to beat a strong Bulls side.

Not quite enough ... Tom Kingston cheers on Rob Horne as he streaked through for a try in the first half. However, despite a radical reshuffle, the Waratahs were unable to beat a strong Bulls side. Photo: Brendan Esposito

THE long flight from Sydney to Johannesburg is a trial at the best of times. But for the Waratahs, who head to the Republic this morning, it will turn into a torture trip, as they will spend hour after hour pondering where exactly their Super Rugby season derailed last night - when they competed with the Bulls for 77 minutes only to fall apart in the final three.

The Waratahs scrum had been going well until the final two set pieces, when firstly their back-up forward Lopeti Timani was caught in possession over his own line, and then from the ensuing Bulls scrum feed, their tight-head prop Werner Kruger scored the match-winning try to end any hope the Waratahs had of making the finals.

This was so cruel, as for most of the night the Waratahs played encouraging football, looking far more composed and dangerous in attack, but in the end were victims of a professional team who took full advantage of their few chances.

The Waratahs' fluctuations may have had something to do with them being distracted by the garish garb worn by the Bulls. Their oh-so-groovy-man, strawberry milkshake-coloured jersey, with plenty of swirls, was something you would expect to be worn by the main participants in a Woodstock-era psychedelic movie. You were almost waiting for a George Harrison-Ravi Shankar sitar jam session to be blaring out of the loudspeakers during any break in play.

And for the Waratahs, confronting that was almost like being on a magic mushroom trip. You couldn't help being spun out. Some moments the Waratahs were flying as high as a kite, playing to the peak of their abilities, especially when they kept dominating the scrum, enjoying a rush of free kicks and penalties, and when they got their midfield attack working in tandem, enabling Berrick Barnes to put centre Rob Horne through for their first try in a manoeuvre that involved a clever decoy run and precise attacking lines.

Other times it was if they were suffering from cold turkey, losing their way, and having to bury their heads in their hands when everything went wrong. That included them once again losing restarts, and forgetting all about discipline at important moments, especially at lineout time, where Dean Mumm interfered with an opposition jumper, and was told off by referee Chris Pollock. But he didn't learn the lesson, doing it again 15 minutes later to be waved to the sin bin. This wasn't the time to be one man down, and the Bulls immediately made the home side pay when their halfback, Francois Hougaard, scampered down the blindside from a scrum to level the scores. For the umpteenth time this season, the Waratahs failed to make the most of the moment.

It was more of the same in the second half. At times, the Waratahs were in control, and continued to upset the Bulls at the scrum - a fair effort by the NSW pack as it was without Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau while Benn Robinson was missing for the second half. Their attack continued to play close to the gainline, and more often than not wanted to run rather than kick, which had the desired effect of giving their winger Atieli Pakalani room to show that he can break a defence. But there were the characteristic lapses, being caught out wide defensively to give the Bulls their second try through winger Akona Ndungane to keep the visitors in the game. And then came the last two scrums where the Waratahs stumbled at the worst moment. First Timani was captured over the Waratahs line to give the Bulls the next scrum feed. From there, Kruger barged over. And for Waratahs- season over.

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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 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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
View all
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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